Review: Foals - What Went Down

Foals: What Went Down
8.5/10

Having listened to ‘Mountain at My Gates’ and ‘What Went Down’ non-stop since their release, I naturally hit play as soon as I woke up on the day Foals' new album What Went Down came out. Hearing the familiar noise of the past weeks reverberate through my speakers still felt like a surprisingly fresh experience.

‘What Went Down’ is heavy, seeing Foals explore their darker side - so goes the cliché, at least. ‘Mountain at My Gates’ is by far the best song, reaching super-intense levels in a double-time section which will go down a storm at their live shows.

‘Birch Tree’ harks back to the earlier math-rock elements that saw Foals rocket up the UK music scene. Whilst not particularly spectacular for what Foals are capable of, it’s pleasantly calming after the first two songs, with ‘Give It All’ following a similar pattern. ‘Snake Oil’ oozes funk and heaviness, like Queens of the Stone Age had they been brought up in Oxford. Likewise, ‘Night Swimmers’ boasts a certain hefty-ness that other Foals albums haven’t had; whilst still maintaining that mathy, twangly-noodley guitar melody that remains overarchingly Foals-esque, alongside that tell-tale intensity that drives Foals sound into several brain-mulching dimensions.

Ending on ‘A Knife in the Ocean’, the longest track on the album at nearly 7 minutes, Foals have triumphed with their fourth effort. The whole thing is a testament to the British music scene that keeps producing fascinating new material.

Everything Foals do seems to be getting more and more likeable, with their entire November tour selling out within five minutes. I predict them to headline a major UK festival next year, be that T in the Park, Reading and Leeds or maybe Isle of Wight. This album will surely cement that honour. ‘Cause What Went Down is bloody smashing.