Review: Foals – ‘Exits’

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80%
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Anthemic

Foals' anticipated return is a groovy track that voices the fears of a generation and raises the stakes for their upcoming album to dangerous heights.

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Although I’ve been a fan of the odd song over the years, I properly fell in love with Foals around two weeks ago, just after they teased what was to become the announcement of albums five and six, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1 and Part 2. Actually, ‘fell in obsession’ would be more accurate if it was a phrase. And what a great time to become fully absorbed by Foals – two weeks were enough to listen to their entire discography, select my favourite tracks from all albums (about 20), learn their every chord transition, and rediscover what an emotional rollercoaster music can be – just before the BBC Radio 1 premiere of their brand new single, ‘Exits’ (yes, I know I’ve just cheated my way out of four years of waiting, sorry).

Therefore, it would involve quite a lot of lying to attempt being even remotely objective here. It’s probably natural to instantly become a fan of a song when you know you’re experiencing it for the very first time with thousands of others, even if that song is sonically different from everything the band have done so far. However, despite the fact that the only thing ‘Exits’ and the likes of ‘Black Gold’ seem to have in common is their duration, Foals have preserved their essence: through their powerful guitars and ambiguous lyrics, their music tells a story.

According to frontman Yannis Philippakis, ‘Exits’ is about “post-millenial dread.” In other words, that confused, fearful, and angry mess you might feel when the news comes on. The track alludes to the world’s most urgent problems as it wraps itself in metaphors – climate change, incompetent politicians, invasion of the carefully constructed illusion of privacy – in short, everything you may want to be able to change in this world but feel like you can’t, so you end up shouting about it on Twitter to no change whatsoever. Bleak stuff.

However, this bleakness isn’t combined with the slow guitars of Holy Fire‘s apocalyptic ‘Moon’, but with a groovy combination of guitars, synths, and drums that will have you bobbing your head for just about every second of its slightly controversial almost six minutes. Or at least the edit’s almost four minutes if the ending is not your jam – which is understandable, especially knowing Foals’ previous six-minute epics and their monumental build-up that breaks into pure guitar bliss and makes the wait worth it. Even if it doesn’t have such a progression, ‘Exits’ is still a powerful comeback single delivered in true Foals fashion, with a chorus that begs to be belted out and the two-minute long trademark instrumental sequence.

Expressing the frustrations of a generation, ‘Exits’ opens the door to what will be a politically charged duo of albums from the quartet: “the groove” and “the banger”, as Philippakis classified them in his interview with Annie Mac. With nineteen more tracks and a huge tour to come, Foals promise to make 2019 at least a little less dreadful than it is already.

Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1 will be released on March 8th via Warner Music. Listen to ‘Exits’ below: 

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Editor of The Edge 2018/19, procrastinator, and lover of dogs and words (in this order). Overflowing knowledge of all mainstream entertainment guaranteed, with bonus alternative picks included. Just don't let me touch a gaming console.

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