The poppiest thing out of Oxford since, well, ever. Yet it doesn't suck.

Hyped as the next big thing by British music rags and blogmobs alike, Foals comes out of the starting gate with heavy expectations on its full-length debut Antidotes. This upbeat, guitar-fueled post-punk dance band churns out an exciting sound just when you were beginning to think such characterizations could be past their expiration date. Recorded in Brooklyn, the Oxford-based English quintet certainly benefits from the stateside help of TV On The Radio's David Andrew Sitek, who handles production, and the mouthwatering horn section of domestic afro-beat gurus Antibalas, who can be heard polyrhythming up five tracks on this album.


Foals Antidotes (Sub pop)

Choice cuts include "Electric Bloom," a haunting number that describes the final phase of a slide toward insanity; the album's first single, "Balloons," which thrives on a caffeinated high-life rift with tight bursts of brass; and the über-catchy remix fodder "Hummer." At times, the tracks on Antidotes seem to bleed into one another, and lyrics can get lost beneath frontman Yannis Philippakis' thick British drawl. The heavy guitars sometimes drown him out as well. It's all good though — it's not like the songwriting is earth-shatteringly profound, anyway. The strength of this encouraging debut lies in its overall energy and the airtight synthesis of its instrumental innovation.

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