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Antidotes (Sub Pop)

Wednesday, May 21 2008

The debut full-length from England's much-hyped rock import Foals is a kindred spirit to such innovative post-hardcore acts as Minus the Bear and Q and Not U. But Foals could succeed on a far larger scale than either of those acts, because songs like Antidotes' "Red Socks Pugie" are imminently danceable instead of merely trying to be dancey. The chorus hook alone is so immediately infectious it's hard to believe it hadn't already been written by, say, Wolf Parade. That said, Foals' musical inspiration isn't constrained to one specific scene. From the schizophrenic sampling of "Tron" to the electronica-tinged rally cry "Electric Bloom" and glitchy, horn-driven opener "The French Open," Antidotes incorporates disparate genres from techno to salsa to form a CD that works exactly because listeners don't know what to expect from track to rack or, sometimes, moment to moment. In an increasingly homogenous rock landscape, Antidotes is also a rarity: an album that manages to innovate without alienating, affirming the belief that critical acclaim and mainstream acceptance don't have to be mutually exclusive traits.

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Jonah Bayer


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