What Went Down Album Review
Transgressive, Warner Bros. Records
Released August 28, 2015
Genre: Indie Rock, Alternative Rock
While Yannis Philiapkis has vehemently and understandably expressed his distaste as an artist for Spotify, I have to admit that Spotify is actually how I came to know Foals, the English indie rock group that Philiapkis fronts. So, even though Philiapkis may hate Spotify, I’m grateful it led me to discover this truly excellent band a few months back. While by no means an all time favorite of mine, Foals is consistently strong, and I’d been looking forward to their new album since its announcement. Said album, What Went Down, was finally released recently, and it’s the most fully realized and emotionally honest Foals record yet.
Philiapkis has called What Went Down the band’s loudest and heaviest record and while this is true, it’s more than a little misleading; What Went Down is by far Foals’ most varied album. Sure, it’s the loudest, but it’s also the quietest. This variance usually works. One of the most successful tracks on What Went Down is the eponymous “What Went Down.” It’s angry, confident, and confrontational, with some nice homages to the best of garage bands. “Mountain At My Gates” is another addictive, emotionally charged rock song, but it’s one that could easily get tons of mainstream radio airplay. Conversely, “Birch Tree” slows things down a bit and gets a little funkier, but the tonal shift somehow feels thematically consistent. Another highlight is album closer “A Knife in the Ocean.” It’s an epic seven minute song that builds and builds and builds, finishing What Went Down on a remarkably beautiful note.
Not every track on What Went Down is an extreme success, however. “Albatross” has the bare bones of something great, but it’s not there yet. This song is technically fine, but it’s filler disguised as an epic. Also not working for me is “Snake Skin.” It’s catchy, sure, and I could see why it would be enjoyable to some, but “Snake Skin” is largely repetitive and unnecessary.
If you like Foals, check out What Went Down. If you don’t like Foals, check it out anyway ,if you want. It’s not my job to tell you what to do.
PRETTY NEAT MUSIC
FAV TRACKS: What Went Down, Mountain At My Gates, Birch Tree, A Knife in the Ocean.
LEAST FAV TRACKS: Albatross, Snake Skin