Review: Sacred Hearts Club by Foster the People

Sacred Hearts Club by Foster the PeopleAfter listening to Sacred Hearts Club, the third album from Foster the People, I start wondering if Mark Foster has run out of ideas. Now, don’t get me wrong – this does not suggest stasis. The album sees the band change direction a bit, towards the sort of pop that gets mindless listens but fails to really work its way through you – you know, like his earlier work. Those were simple songs, but somehow they worked harder than they should, and tracks like “Pumped Up Kicks” (from their debut) and “Coming of Age” (from its follow-up) feel satisfying. None of the tracks in Sacred Hearts Club do. It plods on. It’s hazy. It’s forgettable. It’s worrying in the sense that this seems to be the direction they want to be. It’s like, I don’t know, Maroon 5 going pop – it made sense but then it ruins their brand entirely. Sure, it was replaced by a different brand, and it worked, but nothing remains the same. I’m not sure Foster the People is ready for such a gear shift. Mark Foster is no Adam Levine. And their music had this charm that could not be easily suplemented, or supplanted, by poppier production. Nope, this is a worrying misstep. [NB]2/5

Review: Supermodel by Foster the People

Supermodel by Foster the PeopleMark Foster calls Supermodel, Foster the People’s second album, as “angry” – a comment, for the most part, on consumerism. Deep, but nothing surprising, considering how their breakout hit, “Pumped Up Kicks”, was about youth violence. But the new outlook resulted in a record with less of the sunshine and more of the raincloud. It might have been too abrupt of a shift – the things you do with your sophomore releases, after all – and Supermodel seems to have gotten too contemplative to the point of being the guy who don’t want to hang around with. But while songs like “The Truth” show hints of the whoomping gritty bass that reminds me, at least, of Metallica, songs like “Coming of Age” and “Best Friend” best illustrate the band pushing past their boundaries while keeping their fun side around. Maybe it’s my expectations of the Foster the People sound: it’s still partly there, but I think they just got way too serious, way too soon. [NB]3/5

“So I’m stepping away ‘cos I’ve got nothing to say.”

“Coming of Age” by Foster the People | New single alert! Foster the People may have gotten a lot of paychecks on the power of the quirky “Pumped Up Kicks” (and the rest of the whistly, woozy electronica of their 2011 debut, Torches). Now we have a first taste of their next album, Supermodel: the first single off it, “Coming of Age”, surprisingly has hints of power pop in it. And it makes it easier to sing along to. Not that “Pumped Up Kicks” was terrible at it, but this just works for me at first listen. Bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop. That’s me in the office as I write this. Bop, bop, bop. The album comes out on 18 March. [NB]

“I’m sticking out my hands and feeling weightless again.”

“Hustling (Life on the Nickel)” by Foster the People | Another recommendation that was sent a month ago and fell down the cracks of my Singapore trip, this time from Adrian, who agrees with me about… that radio flip. So. Foster the People. I never really felt much for them. “Pumped Up Kicks” did nothing for me. (“Call It What You Want” did something, though.) I guess it’s the way American music, or at least the ones that do get way out there, can sound so sanitized? But Adrian, if you’re reading this, I assume you’ve heard of this. I’m not posting this because of that thing I have for Kimbra at the moment, but because this actually sounds very FTP-ey, considering Mark Foster collaborated with her on this. I guess I’ll enjoy FTP if the universe aligns. (Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)

“No hologram behind the door.”

“Warrior” by Mark Foster, A-Trak and Kimbra | I’m officially losing track of Converse’s interesting “Three Artists, One Song” thing. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago when they released “DoYaThing”, the collaboration between Gorillaz, Andre 3000 and James Murphy? Now here’s another one, featuring Foster without his people, the girl off that Gotye song, and A-Trak (sorry, not that familiar with him). The song’s available for download here; I suggest you grab it and keep it for Friday night, just when you get out of work. Or maybe just play it now. It’s groovy enough to get you going. Also, weird music video. (MG sent this over; thank you! Have things I should hear? Drop me a line here.)