Album Review: Foster The People – Sacred Hearts Club

By Will Sexton (@willshesleeps)

In the midst of summer, the 3rd album in Foster The People’s discography has arrived and it’s a switch up on the usual indie rock/synth-pop style they have so well blended themselves into. Sacred Hearts Club sees the return of a band obviously not worried about what people would say if they changed up their style, but even from their debut album Torches, you could tell that the band were fluid and liked experimenting with different textures to their music. There was a short documentary online before the album was released that revealed the album with feature ’60’s sounds and a psychedelic influence’ which pushed the hype to a new level.

Experimentation is a term that you would use to describe this new record also. The lead singles from the album coming in the form of the E.P. III, it was a spacey, low-key political piece of work which was enjoyed a lot on release, but it just shows you how they can change so much and come at their music from a different perspective and still impress. Songs like SHC are keeping close to the sound we all grew to love but the changes come with the songs like Pay The Man and especially the heavily trap/dance influenced Loyal Like Sid & Nancy, which was a shock to the system at first.

With all these new styles and influences it’s hard to decide whether this album is cohesive. ‘Start to finish’ aesthetics is something music has always stuck to, where you’d pick one style you like and write an album based upon it. Foster The People break that trend (along with a few other artists recently) and start to follow their own heads and make music for themselves, not what they think people will flock too which is appreciated a lot. The middle of the album is a brilliant example of this.

The interlude song Orange Dream starts with feedback and wakes the listener up and continues to be alive with its harsh drum beat and off-key sounds until you’re hit with a bass line and synth that sounds like it was influenced from Tame Impala. This song leads into another few songs that follow a different kind of indie-rock, blended with a synth-pop aesthetic. The song Static Space Lovers (feat. vocals from Jena Malone), which is written about being in a relationship with someone that isn’t really going anywhere which features synth and dreamy chords, and the song Lotus Eater which has one of the best riffs on the album as the chorus and possibly my favourite song on the record and STILL being different everything to they’ve ever written, which show how still slides into the next interlude so effortlessly even though Time To Get Closer is a slow jam with a gorgeous bass line.

The last two songs really round this album off well. Harden The Paint still shows the ever-changing genre of this album, featuring some new techniques and effects with the samples and the way those samples are cut, which is something Sacred Hearts Club does pride itself on. The last song III is an ethereal song that again features brilliant sampling and it feels so rich with its gorgeous instrumentation and choice of chords. It’s heartfelt nature and it being the last song on the album really gives you the closure you’re looking for from the experience that is Sacred Hearts Club.

The fluidity is still appealing. It’s still going strong and Foster The People have shown that they can still write amazing music. It’s an album that fans have been looking forward to for a long time, and if you have been a long time fan it might take a little time to get used to it, but it’s worth getting used too.

8.5/10


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EP REVIEW: FOSTER THE PEOPLE – III

By Will Sexton (@willshesleeps)

In 2017, seeing the announcement that Foster The People had released new music was a surprise to say the least. Their songs featured heavily in the early 2010’s following the success of their debut, especially in the sport-gaming scene with the likes of FIFA and SSX matching up perfectly with their zesty pop-indie rock tunes. The gorgeous blend of indie-rock and luscious pop make this band something that you might have heard before, attempted by someone else, but not executed quite as successfully. The EP feature 3 songs from their upcoming untitled album that will be released in the summer.

The new singles Pay The Man, Doing It For The Money and S.H.C are fabulous additions to the already impressive collection of music. The sound has evolved but not changed enough for it to be completely different. Many have suspected that a few of these songs would be influenced by the inauguration of a certain American President as this band are heavy supporters of Bernie Sanders in the run-up to the election.


Pay The Man opens with a synth-brass section that almost takes a page out of Run The Jewels book and the song evolves to sort of a sing-rap song about ‘the system’ and ‘the man’ being an image of power that controls us all. The mention of ‘the man’ has been approached a lot in the styles of music like rock and punk music so it’s interesting to see it approached in indie-pop, but this band being very politically involved over the last 2 years I’m not surprised. It’s a strong opening to the EP, no doubt setting the tone for the album.

8/10


Doing It For The Money sees Foster The People use a new style of drums influenced by trap music and the chorus of this song being very big spacey and anthem-like. Contrary to the album title, the idea of this song is that they AREN’T doing it for the money. They’re still making music and proving themselves saying “We are still here”. This song also feels like a call out to all people to stand up for what you believe in and don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Very empowering and the gorgeous mixing and instrumentation on the track really help it. The way the band changes into the bridge from the second chorus is very reminiscent of their two other albums, solidifying that they hadn’t lost their way in experimenting.

8/10


S.H.C (Secret Hearts Club) brings the indie guitar back and as soon as this song starts up, you’ll be taken aback by a bombardment of nostalgia. This song sees Mark Foster expressing about how the world is in a dark place right now but he wants to “live his life again” and it almost seems as if he is saying that he can live his life again through his music. Mark stated this when the EP was released: “One of my favorite things about music is that it’s unifying. We wrote these songs to reflect joy in a time where people have needed it more than ever and we thought it was a good time to share them with you.” which further proves this point. 

9/10


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Foster The People – Supermodel review

Hype is a double-edged sword. Bands like The Strokes have suffered from receiving an extreme amount of acclaim in the early part of their careers which results in unrealistic expectations for future releases. Mark Foster declared that he had “created a monster” when reflecting back on Foster The People’s smash hit Pumped Up Kicks. For a song that has a dark plot about a high school kid who guns down his classmates, it sold over five million copies and made the band a household name. Unfortunately the never ending airplay meant that many people eventually got aggravated by the song and didn’t check out the band’s debutTorches.

                     The LA band’s second album replaces the bright and care free nature that could cause sunburn from their debut with something a bit more toned down. Pseudolgia Fantasy is a good example of this which shows Foster’s chirpy voice layered over a psychedelic sound that descends into white-noise chaos. Lead single ‘Coming of Age’ is one of the stronger tracks on offer which shows off a variety of resonate synths and harmonies that’ll be welcome addition to the band’s setlist on their inevitable future tours. Last but by no means least ‘Best Friend’ is the best track on offer, something that wouldn’t go amiss on Torches, but what’s most impressive is its masterful blend of falsettos, guitars and bass that are all reminiscent of bands like the Bee Gees that, in addition to the production values, help the track to truly shine.

                                                                                   Unfortunately the whole album isn’t as much fun the whole way through. Tracks like Goats In Trees feel slightly out of place and are pretty much unforgettable. Unfortunately this makes up most of the latter half of the album and makes Supermodel feel pretty anti-climatic.

The second album has proved to be difficult for various bands and those who have produced sugary sweet indie debuts like The Ting Tings have stumbled up and disappointed when it comes to this task. Although Supermodel isn’t Foster The People’s equivalent to Total Life Forever, it’s still a good album in its own right.