Review | After seven months, Foals are back with Part 2 of “Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost”. As its predecessor, the album fails to stand out from their previous work. Foals didn’t reinvent themselves, despite striving to create a solid rock album.
Foals are good at drawing pictures: Humanity is on the edge of survival. Robots have made the rounds, sand dunes filled up the towns. The earth was lost in degrees. Yet, exits aren’t covered anymore. Having survived in their underground shelters during Part 1, a few survivors now embrace on a journey without destination, through the wasteland once called earth.
Innovative guitar work makes way for lukewarm rock riffs
As on What Went Down, Foals have again experimented with more straightforward rock riffs. With a catchy riff and different vocal styles, single The Runner is indeed a great listen. Opposed to the verse, the chorus is rather melodic and therefore giving variety. But with Black Bull and Like Lightning, it’s a different story. Former is a riff-driven jam, depicting in a-bull-driven-crazy-way the “unpleasant aspects of masculinity”, as lead singer Yannis Philippakis said in an NME interview. Although being one of their heaviest pieces, it’s also their most shallow one. Yes, it has energy and power – but only manages to scratch the surface.
Same goes for Like Lightning. If there was an American Gods kind of series starring Zeus as the protagonist, this would be the ultimate soundtrack. But not in a good way. More in a “we already heard that types of songs enough on Arctic Monkey’s AM” kind of way.
This is not a rock album
Although having those rock songs on it, the album itself can’t really be described as a rock album. With Wash Off and Dreaming Of, Foals rather move towards their origins than stir out of it. Both are characteristic for the band, although it’s hard to get to their core. As well as 10,000 Ft., the songs appear like they started as jams but it was never cleared in which direction they should unfold. While listening, one may constantly look for something to hold on to. But nothing is found.
Part 2 remains too close to the surface
Foals put emphasis on world-building, as seen with Ikaria, a musical interlude serving as a break. But apart from that, the album doesn’t really offer anything of value. Sure, there’s melancholic Into the Surf, a love song with a tragic ending, and Neptune, a piece of 10 minutes with the majority improvised. But overall, the album does not leave much behind. “Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2” is totally fine. It’s a Foals-record that you can listen to for a few times. Unfortunately, it stays too close to the surface to be something profoundly special.
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Artwork taken from JPC.