Foals - Antidotes (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Antidotes (2008)

Sub Pop

Simultaneously Sub Pop's best new finding in years and Oxford, England's answer to Minus the Bear, Foals' Antidotes is an invigorating, complex and catchy debut that delivers on so many fronts your hands are full minutes into the thing.

Antidotes is playful, shifting indie pop/rock that calls to mind Bloc Party, the aforementioned Minus the Bear (listen to those guitars in the intro of "Red Socks Pugie") and Battles, the last of which are an admitted influence in the press release. While Foals is often relegated to the 'math rock' team, the band usually play in 4/4 time, but do it with a drive that carefully straddles the line between emotional and mechanical. Propelled by guitars that ring, bounce and squeal; frenetic percussion; horn work on several songs from Brooklyn afrobeat collective Antibalas; tasteful electronic tinges; and arresting atmospheres, Antidotes will have the whitest of indie rock nerds shaking throughout.

Somehow, the band retain this incredibly melodic and compelling nature with repetitive phrasing (like its more single-oriented moments in "Cassius," "Electric Bloom," and "Balloons") or breathtaking flows and scale hops. Times like those are what'll stick in your head long after the 54-minute (including two bonus tracks) disc has concluded, but you'll come back for the band's scrappy interplay and energetic camaraderie.

It's hard to say much else of an album that largely speaks for itself. Foals are the real deal, and its members are only in their early 20s. Don't mind the indie-hip vibe; if stagnant bands and tired-sounding records are what ails you, take Antidotes.