Life is Yours
If Foals hadn’t called their debut album ‘Antidotes’ you imagine they’d have chosen the name for their seventh LP. ‘Life Is Yours’ is the result of creating music in the throes of 2020’s winter lockdown. It was fucking miserable; the Covid-19 cases and death rates were rising exponentially and it seemed like there was no way out of a pandemic that had us all confined to our homes. So, did Foals craft an album saturated in fear and frustration? Nope, they lost themselves in a future where we returned to gigs, festivals, pubs and where we’d finally escaped the looming spectre of a deadly virus.
Frontman Yannis Philippakis sums up the motivation behind the Oxford trio’s seventh LP when speaking to NME “it was quite a long road, with the pandemic winter and all of that in England. It was everywhere, but it felt especially bleak and encroaching in the UK with the weather, no pubs and how bad Covid got. When we were writing ‘Wake Me Up’, it was almost like wishful thinking that we’d ever come out; that there would be a world to return to. At certain points it felt unremittingly bleak.”
‘Life Is Yours’ is a sonic evolution for Foals. This is the threesome (keyboardist Edwin Congreave left the group last year) at their poppiest; imagine a record with the same sonic palette as ‘My Number’ and a smattering of ‘Miami’ with an emphasis on danceability. With its technicolour persona you envisage the band creating the LP in a beachside studio not a windowless basement in the midst of a pandemic. It’s weirdly ironic that ‘Life Is Yours’ predecessor ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’ focused on the world creaking under the pressure of a climate crisis with an apocalyptic glint in its eye; whereas an album conceived over the last 18 months (don’t make me list all the bad shit that’s happened since 2020, please!) can sound so upbeat. That’s the beauty of music and the escapism it offers.
Euphoria and a cautious optimism are de rigour amongst ‘Life Is Yours’ DNA, albeit with some shades of melancholy casting shadows across the record’s azure vistas. Let’s not get carried away here, Foals are English after all; joyousness doesn’t come easy to us! The album’s rallying call is hollered as soon as its eponymous track kicks things off. Low-key carnival vibes are fuelled by a loose staccato that’s buoyed by jangling percussion, a loose mathy-riff and blipping synths. A carefree, blissed out Philippakis can be heard purring “life is yours/breakaway/life is yours/I heard you say/the choice is yours/don’t be late” as if to subtly motivate the listener out of a lockdown fug. If there’s ever a statement to kick-start a post-Covid period of hopefulness it’s ‘Wake Me Up’. It’s a wiggling melange of choppy guitars, gang vocals and a funky disco beat and there’s catharsis to be discovered amongst its shoulder-shuffling quirkiness “I’m burning all my bridges/I’m pulling up the ropes/deleting all the codes/no, I’m not that man you know” blurts the band’s talisman like someone searching for a personal renaissance. ‘Looking High’s shimmy and shake deploys a rubbery-funkiness to Philippakis’ yearning for life on the other side of quarantine “I hope that I see a life returning/the leaves on the trees and the wind blowing”. A tropical nostalgia envelopes ‘2001’ as it wiggles with a joyful wooziness. Foals’ lead man adopts a fine falsetto as he loving ponders the delight of a blue sky and the heat on his skin “I’ve been waiting all day inside/waiting for the summer sky/when we run wild.” ‘Life Is Yours’ is brought to an emphatic close by the one-two hedonistic rush of ‘The Sound’ and ‘Wild Green’. Foals have always tipped their hat to techno and electronic music and it’s these influences that give the album’s finale its exuberant climax. This final pairing illustrates the trio’s penchant for transporting themselves and the listener to somewhere sun dappled and where cares are left a million miles away from this blissed out and much needed slice of
distraction from…well…you know….
‘Life Is Yours’ is the shot in the arm we all need to awaken us from the turmoil of the past two years.
Order Life is Yours by Foals HERE