Foster the People
Riding in on the same Nu-Wave movement which carried bands like MGMT and Phoenix, Foster the People’s dance-infused indie came to the music world’s attention with the catchy ’Pumped Up Kicks’. Narrating the homicidal thoughts of a troubled youth set to an earworm of a bass line, the song set the tone for their critically-praised debut Torches. For their sophomore effort, frontman Mark Foster recorded around London, L.A. and Morocco in an attempt to capture a musical identity based on “the spirit of wanderlust and discovery”. Presumably the band didn’t exactly expect this spirit of wanderlust to discover a sound remarkably like The Killers’ Day & Night, as it does on lead single ‘Coming of Age’, because they really needn’t have travelled so far.
On Supermodel, Foster the People have opted for dense guitar textures and lofty falsettos. While this is a departure for the band, it is open to debate whether it represents a progression as such; the cavernous 80s-influenced sound of ‘Ask Yourself’ will no doubt have its admirers, but the ultra-polished production occasionally borders on the saccharine, leaving a longing for the fuzzy edge of their early work.
That’s not to say that the album is without its highlights. The West African-influenced shuffling rhythm and chorus of “na na nas” on ‘Are You What You Wanted To Be?’ is Vampire Weekend on steroids, whilst the gentle finger picking on ‘Nevermind’ transforms into a towering behemoth of pulsing bass, and wailing guitar solos abound. It’s a good record; it just isn’t a great one.