It’s been two years since the release of Holy Fire: enough time for any pent-up antsiness surrounding the Oxford indie collective’s studio album return to reach its peak. The shoegaze world stirs, and Foals is searing the anticipation.
Complete with corresponding video, the fivesome just dropped “What Went Down” on Tuesday, its first debut a highlight on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 station. As grubby alt-rock as it is hooking, melodic pop—in all of its addictive refrain–the 6-minute track is indulgingly downcast, even for a group that spent their whole breakout album drowning—figuratively via lyrical theme [and literally, on their cover art]…(see: Total Life Forever).
As for the music video, the visuals are aquatically menacing: blurry, blue, and shivering with lead singer Yannis Philippakis’ near-exhausted vocal cries. His words, even when blurted in adoration, resemble an instigating snarl: (“When I see you mad, I see a lion/ You’re the apple of my eye…”).
Intense for the usually ‘gentler’ Foals, “What Went Down” marks both a significant sound divergence and hard-rock, icy emotion unchained.