When I first heard American indie/pop band Foster the People earlier this year, I anticipated their debut album Torches very much. Lead single "Pumped Up Kicks" was a quite an enjoyable number--a tuneful minimalist production--prominent drum patterns with twangy underlining guitar chords and an excavating chorus reminiscent to MGMT or if the Kings of Leon adopted a euphonic flair to their sound. They also sound a little like another fairly new band The Naked and Famous, who also released their debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You this year. So, whilst Torches isn't particularly trailblazing, it's still quite a satisfying listen.
While the sound on here is nothing short of cohesive, there is enough change-up within its rather short 10-track set to keep it interesting. First two tracks, "Helena Beat" and "Pumped Up Kids" kick off the album with prominent drums, alleviating guitar chords and subdued synth tones re-calling a little '80s panache, whereas third track "Call It What You Want" is quite upbeat, with lenient bass lines and underpinning piano chords, drawing in elements of dance-pop. It's also quite '80s influenced too.
At just under 3 minutes long, the rocking "Don't Stop (Colour On the Walls)" is the shortest song on here. It's very quirky and jaunty. I love the straining guitar melodies on here, particularly because they remind me of "Song 2" by British rock band Blur. Such a fun little number, similarly "Waste" is another sonorous tune--a calm pairing of soft drums, piano keys and skittering synths in the backdrop.
"I Would Do Anything For You," lays in pretty effectively into the sharp piano chords, towering over the prominent bass lines. Sounds a little Maroon 5. The albums calmer moments work just as well, closing track "Warrant" is collectively mellow, with its layer of soundscape and percussion only disturbed by the progressive guitar chords which enter later.
Torches doesn't nessecarily hit any bum notes, but there is some filler such as "Miss You" a trancey, synth-drenched number which doesn't quite go anywhere. However, on the whole this a very sturdy, cohesive, enjoyable album with a handful of highlights.
Best: Pumped Up Kicks, Call It What You Want, Helena Beat, Don't Stop (Colour On the Walls), Warrant