Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost — Part 1 is the newest atmospheric release from the British new wave revival band Foals. Dropped March 8, the album features clean-cut musical elements reminiscent of other post-punk legends such as Interpol and Franz Ferdinand.
The incandescence of Part 1 begins with the track “Moonlight,” a cosmic whisper of harmonies mixed with tranquil birds chirping and steady guitar riffs. Rusty vocals are established as the electronic nature of the album gradually picks up speed, building the anticipation for the rest of the listening experience.
This change of pace is felt immediately with “Exits,” a satisfyingly off-balance and energetic track. The longest song on the album and the lead single, this song describes a fever dream of feeling trapped in an upside-down world.
To turn the group’s sound upside-down is a switch from the post-rock scene to a much more calculated math-rock appeal, with twinkling guitars and echoed lyrics galore. “White Onions” accomplishes this attempt at genre-blending by mixing the band’s various styles into one well-produced spitfire.
It’s hard to place exactly which genre this album falls into. More often than not, this is the case with modern music’s ability to combine core genres with electronic elements or other coalesced production choices.
Part 1 takes a spin at “In Degrees,” an upbeat ‘80s Brit-pop bop. While the lyrics get a bit repetitive, the track is ultimately built to be played live. The glittery and entertaining ornamentations of the instruments create such an interesting environment that the droning of the lyrics is barely even noticeable.
If it’s possible for a bassline to sound sensual, it’s absolutely accomplished with “Syrups.” The more high-powered and aggressive point of the album, this song starts off subdued before traveling through a tunnel of manic sounds and more urgent beats. It definitely takes a while to reach this point, not really reaching urgency until the 3:30-minute point of the 5:29-minute song, but the slow build gives listeners the time to appreciate each mood presented.
Some moods are a bit more comical, however. The only thing that comes to mind when listening to “On The Luna” is the iconic “SNL” skit making fun of the cowbell. Although the band members don’t use the instrument as heavily as Blue Öyster Cult did, they come pretty close. But that doesn’t diminish the quality of the song, which is overall solid — as long as you can get past the absurdity of the constant hollow ring.
The album loses a bit of steam in the latter half of the track list — as songs begin to sound the same and a little too reminiscent of Coldplay, listeners don’t necessarily stop enjoying the album but rather unintentionally turn Part 1 into background music. The listening experience may get a little boring and feel tired, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the album as a whole.
Overall, the individual tracks could have used more differentiation from each other, but it seems that finding albums that succeed in making each song completely unique from the others is rare to come across. If you’re looking for an album to get obsessed with every song, this may not be the best option. But each song on the album was unarguably well-produced (although you can absolutely argue against the use of excessive cowbell).
A second part to the symphonic series, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost — Part 2, is expected to release in September of this year. If Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost — Part 1 is any indication of the quality fans can expect from Foals in the upcoming album, we’re definitely in safe hands.