Across their four studio albums to date, Foals have undergone a gradual but definite progression, setting off from fiddly debut album ‘Antidotes’ and shuffling the pack through to 2015’s ‘What Went Down’, an apocalyptic hammerblow of filthy, hell-bound riffs. On said fourth album, it felt like the five-piece (now down to four after the departure of bassist Walter Gervers) had taken that trajectory to its natural conclusion, and comeback single ‘Exits’ predictably sounds like a departure from the narrative, and ties their whole career together wonderfully.
Across the track’s six minutes, it channels the intricacy and inherent weirdness of ‘Antidotes’ and the airy playfulness of its follow-up ‘Total Life Forever’, while the towering riffage of ‘What Went Down’ still bubbles under the surface. At once, it resets the band’s parameters and sees them stride forwards into a new era.
Lyrically, ‘Exits’ is just as sure in its message. “The sea eats the sky, but they say it’s a lie / There’s no birds left to fly,” Yannis Philippakis asserts confidently in its first line, before confronting the paranoia of climate change and impending doom. “The world is upside down,” he offers in a superbly catchy chorus barges its way in, brilliantly sure in its message and reasserting Foals as a band with plenty to say.
Musically tying together everything that’s come before and lyrically confronting the paranoia that we’re all feeling, it’s their definitive statement.
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