Torches is the debut album from Foster the People, a follow up to their EP which was released earlier this year, and has bounded onto the music scene with the energy that is at the core of their lively performances and songs. Torches is an exuberant piece of music, and perfectly timed to coincide with the sounds of summer and the sights of the festival season. Foster The People have a style that is upbeat and instantly catchy, even if a deeper delve into their music discovers some slightly dark elements and undertones.
The most impressive singles revolve around a central chorus, instantly likeable and helps to support the strong rhythm and basslines that have see the band rise up so quickly. The best example of this is ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ which has shot to #1 on the Alternative Chart in the UK, with a light electronic style and basslines to reinforce their new and airy dance melody. As the album progresses, the group vocals combine to create an almost ghostly air. Another highlight is ‘Houdini’, starting with deep drumbeats and creating a mystical presence of synthesisers and piano to create yet another FTP catchy summer single.
Their attempt to create and grow an indie-pop atmosphere has been admirable although varied throughout Torches, attempting new tactics to try and achieve the end result, with albeit limited success. With a song as popular as ‘Pumped Up Kicks’, it has had the capacity to dwarf all of the rest of the albums achievements, although there’s certainly some scope for improvement. Some of the slower tracks struggle slightly to capture the enthusiasm and merit of their more lively songs, while some tracks have some very odd opening moments. ‘Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls)’ feels like a retro, cheesy song from 50 years previous with dubious lyrics and resorting to whistling and noises to try and make an impact.
Overall though, this has been a breath of fresh air for the indie pop culture, with this album clearly likened to MGMT and their first album, which also had stellar pop beats, but struggled slightly with the remainder of the album, although on the whole there’s a bright future for the band, with enough variety to build and maximise the impact that they’ve already made.
Good: A summery collection of indie-pop songs
Bad: Torches is dwarfed somewhat by the success of ‘Pumped Up Kicks’