Published Mar 05, 2019The first new album from Foals is the beginning of a new chapter for the band, after founding member and bassist, Walter Gervers, exited the group last year. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost — Part 1 is the first collection in what will be a double album, yet Part 1's cohesion is apparent. Its meticulous self-production frames new lyrical pathways from band leader Yannis Philippakis, who seeks to channel the anxieties and fears felt the world over in light of our crumbling political systems and ecological crises. It's a tall order to wade into such essential yet complex themes, ones that Philippakis felt a duty to engage with.
Lead single "Exits" depicts a "world upside down" amidst rolling riffs characteristic of the band's sound, but it is "In Degrees" that really steals the spotlight. The track recalls colleagues Everything Everything's approach to juxtaposing fearful subject matter with undeniably danceable music, chockfull of bass synth and relentless rhythms. "I'm tongue tied and silenced, words lost on the breeze," Philippakis sings, before increasing desperation pushes the vocals into gospel territory by song's end, through the refrain, "Am I wasting my time? I could not persevere."
Synth player Edwin Congreave and Philippakis have taken over on bass duties in the studio and their prowess is featured on the groove of "Syrups," its slow build to a frenzied climax — complete with dystopian visions of a crumbling London — ending just in time for the looping synths and guitars of "On The Luna" to kick off.
"Sunday" and "I'm Done With The World (& It's Done With Me)" pack a one-two punch Foals have not achieved previously, joining feelings of hope and destitution over climate collapse. It is difficult to view Part 1 outside of its full context, yet listeners can hear both ambition and a refusal to stagnate on these songs. "I'm over it, the birds are singing, it's the end of the world,'" pulsates and echoes through "Sunday"'s tempo change, bursting with a feeling we all need: one of potential. (Transgressive / Warner)