What direction to take when your long-serving bassist and keyboard player both depart in quick succession and you don’t replace them? Not for indie stalwarts Foals the obvious path: their seventh LP is very clearly their disco album, where basslines are king, and the previously dominating guitars are submerged beneath wave after wave of keyboards and synths. It’s a bold move, and probably a smart one. After all, where do you go after the over-egged two-part blowout of 2019’s Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost?
Certainly, there’s an appealing directness to the maximalist likes of Wake Me Up, with its bellowed chorus seemingly precision-tooled for festival crowds. Elsewhere, 2001 splices the early-00s punk-funk of the Rapture with Uptown Funk and La Roux’s (similarly titled) Uptight Downtown to fine effect; 2am’s comparative sense of restraint serves it well. Unfortunately, the quality flags as the album goes on, and the undistinguished likes of Crest of the Wave only succeed in coming across like an ersatz Everything Everything. Throughout, there are nods to LCD Soundsystem, and by the end one finds oneself thinking how much more inventively and engagingly James Murphy does this.