Album Reviews

Foster The People – Torches

(Columbia) UK release date: 27 June 2011

Foster The People - Torches Two tracks in to Foster The People’s debut album, and you could be forgiven for thinking this band are from Australia. Everything about their approach to pop music sings of Modular records – and yet the trio – Mark Foster and his two “People” – are a cross-Pacific flight away in Los Angeles.

The parallel remains strong, however. Vocalist Mark Foster originally called his band Foster & The People, but as people frequently got the name wrong, he took to the shorter version for its comforting nature. It was a good decision, for the music reflects that warm, fuzzy feeling when cares are offloaded, the sun is out and everyone just wants to have a good time.

Lead single Pumped Up Kicks plays a huge part in this, its breezy countenance even allowing for a good whistle down the wind near the end. By this time on the album we have already heard Helena Beat, a more up front electro track with a similarly strong chorus. Things are looking up.

The antipodean parallel remains strong throughout, and there are swooning pop moments here that fans of Empire Of The Sun and the second Metronomy album will fully appreciate. Catchy, wistful choruses are shot through with just a hint of darkness, though this could also be tongue in cheek as Houdini sings of how “sometimes I wanna disappear”. Closing number Warrant, mind, throws off these shackles in a breezy number that reveals itself as a melodic cousin of Just Can’t Get Enough.

Nor are the trio likely to be a one hit wonder. There are a number of styles here recalling the musical flexibility of that fine and underrated first album of Miike Snow. Miss You is a winner in this respect, like having two songs in one as it marches in with intent to reveal a soft centre in the form of a beatless chorus, where the lyric “I smile at the chance to see you again” will melt many a heart.

If you are searching for a sunshine-fuelled pop album for the summer, then your search is at an end. Foster The People make infectiously good music, don’t stick to a formula and make you yearn to lie on your back in the middle of a field, feeling the hot sun streaming down on your face. We can but dream.

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Foster The People – Torches