Single Review: Foals – ‘Exits’

Music Editor | Charlie Catmull

Though the world is in potential chaos and Brexit, or whatever March actually entails, looms over us, 2019 promises to be a great year in music, hopefully one a bit more eventful than last year. Luckily January has already looked set to fulfil that promise with the return of one of the best bands Britain has to offer; Foals and their brand new single ‘Exits’. A band who through their sheer ability to create a sound that is unmistakably theirs, have risen through the ranks of the UK’s indie rock circuit, surviving the rocky transition the scene went through in the late noughties as the genre itself began to become stale. As bands began to mimic the formula initiated by the likes of Arctic Monkeys and *yawn* Courteeners, we ultimately ended up with the middle of the road indie group sound a la Catfish and the Bottlemen.

But Foals were, and still are different. They initiated change, a willingness to experiment and an open-mindedness to simply try stuff out which has landed them at the very top of the pile. An attitude to making music that must in some way have contributed to the explosion in ranging sounds alternative groups are now trying out. The band headlined Reading in 2016 and have now announced a UK tour spanning two nights at the cavernous Alexandra Palace, the first night selling out in just ten minutes.

So, it is with new single ‘Exits’ that Foals continue to push their own musical envelope, whilst still homing in on their signature sound, a stamp which is present in dancefloor and festival fillers such as the huge ‘My Number’ to the heavy-rock influenced ‘What Went Down’ and ‘Providence’. Expanding on their math-rock roots which brought them to critics and fans attention with their debut album ‘Antidotes’ in 2008, it is at the cross-roads between these older songs, full of sun-tinged guitar patterns and electronic fidgeting, and, the more recent tracks such as the singles taken from ‘Holy Fire’ which featured shaking bass, and smack to the face guitar riffs that ‘Exits’ lies.  At 6 minutes long, the track snakes around lead singer Yannis’ poignant lyrics on doomsday plans and extinction, whilst featuring the welcome blend of shimmering electronic glitches and thumping basslines. It is the lush arrangement of old and new, the meeting of crunching guitars and old school video game melodies that make ‘Exits’ such a refreshing song, and, a welcome return to a band that hasn’t released new music in four years. I’m excited to see what their 2019 double LP ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’ brings when it lands on March 8th, hopefully, a lot more of the experimentation that Yannis and co have hinted at in interviews, but with the presence of the authored festival-ready hit making that Foals are now known for.

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