Foals are not afraid of releasing a double-record: what is often considered to be a risk, is overturned with the release of “Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2”. Unflinchingly, the band ignores the fear of going all-out on the first record and instead, they save the best for last. The band’s frontman, Yannis Philippakis has mentioned how the second part is heavier. “It’s more of a rock record with a capital ‘R’ – maybe two ‘R’s,” he added.
With “Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1” being shortlisted for 2019’s Mercury Prize, Part 2 surely seems ambitious. With consistent experiments and changes to their musical sound, Foals never remain still — instead, they reinvent their sound with every album. Whereas Part 1 was an experimental insight into the dangers of technological advancement and progress, Part 2 is a return to their roots but now with rolling riffs. Indeed, it is a rock record — with two ‘R’s.
The album is opened by a calm and minimalistic introduction. Slow and mysterious, it gradually leads into a quicker pace with a gentle guitar sound. As the sound builds up, more and more layers are added. “Red Desert” is a perfect summary of the two albums: whereas “Everything Not Saved Part 1” was a more mysterious and at times, even experimental piece, Part 2 is led on to be Foals what we know of them today, with their guitar-riffs and energetic sound…
And just like this, the slow and melodic intro transitions into the second track of the album — “The Runner”. With its energetic riffs and a number of layers (a typical Foals canon), the song speaks of combating one’s internal struggles and the motivation that keeps people going. Following a more melodic Part 1, “The Runner” introduces us to the dark side of the mood: the strong and confident sound of Part 2. However, it is not only the sound overall that should be praised but Yiannis’ vocals. They strikingly dominate and lead the track, but just enough in order not be completely separated from the music itself.
A nod to some of their older work, like “Inhaler”, “Wash Off” is a quick-paced and layered track that takes us back to Foals’ roots. With a greater focus on the vocals, the lyrics lead the listener through a sonic journey of coming to accept one’s mortality and seizing the day. The album overall has a number of references to one’s mortality and this song is no stranger to this theme. Part 1 gradually immersed the listener’s into the nearing apocalypse, whereas Part 2 boldly hits this nail into the coffin.
Confident. Striking. Impressive. There is no other way to describe “Black Bull” with its intense riffs and strong vocals. The song perfectly captures the energy that Foals can give off — just like “What Went Down” once did. The lyrics are no less complex, with certain anger to them, that makes the sound even more genuine; “Black Bull” expresses the conflict that is found between masculinity and ego. It is a statement-track, one that does not hide behind metaphors and symbols, and although such a concept is not new in Foals’ music, “Black Bull” certainly introduces us to another side of Foals. A more mature one, perhaps.
The following track is also not devoid of this energy, but instead of anger, it expresses a desire to survive, to move on. In a world so constantly bombarded by negative news in the media, a track like this one is a perfect portrayal of a modern human in society and their desire to just survive. Yannis commented on this track: “I wanted ‘Like Lightning’ to have this sense of paranoia. It’s got some of the cockiness of ‘Black Bull’ in it, and a survival instinct, but it’s on the run now. It’s tweakier. We’re super excited to play this one live; it’s gonna be a banger.”
As described by the title, the song is a more dreamy and melodious piece that once again nods to Foals’ older sound. With captivating layering, it is a track that certainly sounds different depending on what the listener chooses to focus on — a notion that is so prevalent in the pieces of this album. Building up from a more pop-sound, the song morphed into a more complex piece about regret and change. This track is a perfect example of Foals’ evolution of sound: Part 2 shows how they have taken some of the best aspects of their previous work, like the twitchy and quick-paced guitars, combining with their current experiments. After all, Foals are no longer a college band formed in Oxford and just becoming known by the world.
There are no fillers in “Everything Not Saved” Part 2 and even the piano interlude “Ikaria” serves to prove this. With echoes replaying certain notes, the piece is a transition to the second part of the album — a more haunting and surreal one. Linking to the Greek myth of Icarus, the track also introduces the listeners to more references to Greece that are due to come in the second half. Yannis also commented on how he finds this myth extremely relevant to today’s society: “Where through all of our technological processes and supposed advancement, we’re actually at the point where we might undo ourselves, facing extinction.”
With a darker and intense bass line, “10,000 Feet” is a more moody and deeper track. Focusing on death and mortality, it was inspired by the story of Barragán, a Mexican architect whose ashes were turned into a diamond. Gradually, as the song progresses, more and more layers and moods are introduced — the song opens up from a different perspective every time one listens to it. Foals are undoubtedly the masters of capturing one’s attention with their music, as well as managing to seamlessly merge so many layers into one piece.
Into The Surf
Picking up on the harmonies of “Surf Pt.1”, this song is more melancholy-filled. With its slow tempo and melodic vocals, it takes the listener through Greek-voyages on the sea; Yiannis mentioned how through this song, he relates to “a type of Greek folk song that’s always to do with the immigration of Greek people and how dying on foreign shores is always viewed as the worst fate – to die far away from your home and your family.”
The final track, the conclusion to the two-part album, acts as an emotional catharsis for everything expressed in the two albums: feelings of fear, anger, hope… Building up from a slow introduction, it emphasizes Yannis’ striking voice with its notes of forlorn. As do most of the songs in “Everything Not Saved” Part 2, this song expresses the desire to escape mortality, whether be it in the “white wards of England” or the “olive groves” of Greece.
“Neptune” is the perfect ending to this two-part journey, encapsulating personality and emotion. The haunting guitar solo in the middle captivates the listener’s attention, completely ridding them of the idea of time — ten minutes seem like the usual four. Foals do not strive to fill the finale with as much detail as possible to make up for the ten-minute mark, instead, it is a grandiose finale that is perfect the way it is. And as the final notes sound off, we are brought to the end of the two-part journey through human fears and emotion.
“Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost” is possibly the best Foals record to date. Not only is it one that reinvents the band’s sound, but also one which acknowledges their math-rock roots. Foals are known for not the things they say, but for the way they say them and this record is the perfect example of this: they are a critically-acclaimed band now. Their sound has matured, becoming finer as the band ages.
Foals are more confident with what they are saying, not fearing the blatant show of emotion. And this is what makes one fall in love with both parts of “Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost”: it is this anger and fears that Foals manage to voice that make them so great.
Featured Image via Independent