Foals | A Review of Holy Fire

The Foals are a growing band hailing from Oxford England with a penchant for using interesting samples in their songs.  They have just released a 3rd album titled Holy Fire and it does not stray very far from their previous offerings except in one way, but we will get to that. The band’s style of music can be summed up as a mix of danceable pop songs and introspective ambient anthems.  The band hasn't released an album since 2010 with Total Life Forever, which featured a very innovative track Spanish Sahara. The track was the stand out on that album as most memorable and technically interesting. On the newest album Holy Fire there are some tracks that stand out such as, My Number, Bad Habit, Late Night and the last track on the album Moon.  

The thing which makes the Foals’ music exciting to listen to is their knack for crafting songs that create a sense of escalation.  Many of their tracks open up with soft instrumental tones matched with a mellow accompaniment of the lead singer. Where this knack comes in to play is the gradual build up in tempo that often leads to a cacophony of sounds that will mark a song’s moment of culmination. Most music has so much to do with escalation and playing with that idea in musical terms, it seems though that the Foals have a more apparent and functional approach than other artists.  

The only thing that is missing from Holy Fire is a truly standout track, one that defines this album as a whole. 


Pat Hull | A Review of Shed Skin

Pat Hull is a Brooklyn based musician who just recently released an album called Shed Skin.  The first thing you will notice when listening to Hull’s emotional melodies is just how pretty this man’s voice is. Pretty is generally not a word usually associated with men but it is appropriate when speaking of singers like Hull. Thom Yorke, the lead singer of Radiohead has a very pretty voice and has even been known to point that out to reporters in a half-hearted attempt at self-flagellation.  Half-hearted in the sense that, he knows there is nothing wrong with a pretty singing voice.

Pat Hull may not be attempting to seize Matt Berninger’s (The National) title for manliest singing voice of the year award but the two do seem to share a knack for penning/singing great songs. Hull’s style of music is somewhat stripped down, consisting mainly of simple percussion, guitar portions and softly sung vocals. Hull isn’t the only one to sing on this album though, Michael Chinworth bares a lot of the vocal responsibility on Shed Skin and he and Hull share a few memorable duets on the tracks In Rehearsal and Full Parade.  

It’s difficult to create an album or even a song that can cause someone to take notice given the sheer volume of music being produced and released these days. Pat Hull has managed to do this with his new album. Shed Skin is filled with ambient songs infused with the characteristics of country and blues but also has tight innovative hooks that give his music have a tangible quality.       

You can hear the whole album here.