Review: Foster the People – Supermodel
Published on March 25th, 2014 | Jonny Abrams
Can we get through our review of Foster the People’s second album Supermodel without mentioning, or making a limp joke about, “Pumped Up Kicks”? Er, that one doesn’t count.
Let’s just crack on with the tunes, starting with opener “Are You What You Want to Be?” – it’s a question that it doesn’t seem so sure of itself, starting out sounding nauseously like a Hard-Fi/Two Door Cinema Club-soundtracked advert for televised football before revealing its thrillingly syncopated Afrobeat verse, which happily lands closer to Animal Collective than Vampire Weekend.
Supermodel toes that line between discomforting commercialism and exhilarating experimentation almost throughout. It’s ‘normal’ and ‘smooth’ enough for the easily spooked, yet with enough crafty touches packed into it to reward repeat listens. “Ask Yourself”, for instance, reminds us of Bravecaptain with its characterful presentation and lyrical likes of “You’re coughing up blood again / I know ’cause I clean up the mess every now and then”.
The brooding trudge-rock of “Nevermind” works well, especially when it builds into a tempestuous climax, while the swirling synths of “Pseudologica Fantastica” could be early MGMT in league with The KLF. (Never again might we compare a band to Hard-Fi and The KLF within the same review, so make the most of it.)
There’s a soaring melodic turn around three fifths of the way into the wistfully folky trot of “Goats in Trees” that proceeds to give way to some creepy/psychedelic chattering, and the buzzing, humming, percussively rattling “The Truth” is another that merits mention on account of its provision of the aforementioned adjectives.
Set-closer “Fire Escape” is presented in a lo-fi acoustic vein with a soft chorus of backing vocals, all of which may be a tad on the predictable side but is oh so pretty, not to mention lyrically thoughtful (“I like to stick to walls / Observing conversations, lifting them when they fall / I am a fire escape, my spine is made of iron / My heart pumps that old red paint”).
Overall, Supermodel hints more at potential than it ultimately delivers, but it’s worthy of your time nonetheless.
Supermodel will be released March 24th on Columbia.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!