Foals: why they are the most important band of 2007 and why it's imperative that you love them
Those reading this who were lucky enough to enjoy Oxford's mathematical wunderkids The Edmund Fitzgerald will remember a few things. After a few line-up changes and a constantly evolving set of lengthy guitar experiments, Jack, Yannis and Lina settled on committing a few genuinely spectacular performances and songs to the memory of this writer.
A split single with Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies - their Oxfordian brothers in arms - and selected 12" splits and leaked tracks later and things were coming to a close. Lina, bound for university was to be the untying of the setup and The Ed Fitz called it a day.
Regardless, Yannis and Jack continued. Quite happy to 'fuck around' and play music until the baby-faced noisenik Andrew Mears (of the aforementioned Youthmovies) hopped on board.
Asked to prepare music for an art exhibition, the threesome made a five-minute song known affectionately as 'Modern Art is for Pricks'. Jack sent me the song quite soon after they'd finished and I was excitied. Laced with vocal harmonies and intricate guitar trickery, the newly-monikered Foals had laid down the blueprint for what they were tentatively terming 'math-pop'.
Fast-forward a few more months and two more band members later and Try Harder, the Oxford-based label run by Youthmovies cohort Al English and good friends Sim and Simon are getting ready to release Foals' debut single.
A double A-sided seven inch affair, 'Try This On Your Piano'/'Look At My Furrows of Worry' was an emotive, exciting and technical experiment in taking the band's math-pop fantasies closer to reality. Gaining praise from many corners (including myself on Drowned in Sound) and earning the band a string of dates around the country, the fusion of Yannis's relentless guitar masturbation and Andrew Mears' ear for melody, things were exciting and interesting.
Alas, something was lacking. There was a lack of 'freshness' about the sound. Foals were never a stagnant-sounding band but there was perhaps a lack of forward-facing ethic amongst the troops.
Shortly afterwards, Andrew quit Foals and rejoined Youthmovies full-time, preparing for the band's new material and impending album recordings. This left Foals in something of a quandry, but a position they were quite capable of escaping from.
Wheeling in the stylish haircut of Edwin to play keyboards (whilst wearing a neckscarf. Always), Yannis, Jack, Jimmy and Walter set about building the sound of Foals today.
Capitalising on the success of the 'math-pop' moniker, Yannis took control of the chanteuse role, yelping repetitively to great effect. Jack's vital, incisive rhythms made way for Edwin's keyboard stabs and Jimmy and Walter filled out a more mature, club-bound schema.
And here we are. Foals conquered SXSW (and then some) and have returned to the UK with a live 12" available and a single, 'Hummer' on the horizon. Now cosy with Transgressive - arguably one of Britain's most exciting labels for new music - things are just about to boil.
Many have called them the pop Battles, others simply don't give a fuck and just dance their arses off. But right now, there is no other band in the UK who are as exciting to the ears and important to the feet. A seemingly unstoppable trail of incendiary live performances and a sense of humour have ensure Foals a place in the hearts of many across the land; old and young.
Why is it so important that you should give a fuck though? Well, quite simply, if Foals fail, then we're all fucked. Don't even question it, just accept it.
Vote Foals for MTV2 here:
and check out their myspace here:
You really, really must.