With great releases this year from artists like Gorillaz, Blackfield, Pond, and so on, Foster the People's latest release “Sacred Hearts Club” brought with it a whole lot of expectations to live up to. Indie pop darlings Foster the People met that expectation with a mixed bag of tracks that has some of their best as well as some of their worst work so far.
Foster the People have always been bold about crossing that arbitrary genre boundary, and their confidence in experimenting with their sound shone through this album. After their breakout album “Torches” in 2011 - which put them on the map as a name to watch out for - they didn't come close to playing it safe as they released the album “Supermodel” in 2014, with more focus on acoustic and miscellaneous instruments. This time the EDM vibe had been more dominant rather than the psychedelia of the previous two albums. The change in their sound is made evident from the very first track with retro background music accompanying it which continues throughout the rest of the tracks.
This time Foster the People struck a chord between experimenting with their sound and being faithful to the albums before. Tracks like Sit Next to Me and I Love My Friends could have easily slipped into the Torches album while Pay the Man and Harden the Paint reminded the listeners of Supermodel. The pacing on the album has been a bit slower than before but this particular choice helped emphasise the change in their music style. Tracks like III and Harden the Paint have been different from anything they've done before, making the album distinguishable from its predecessors in one listen.
Starting with the positives, Static Space Lover and III will slip into the list of their best work with ease. The strong influence of the 60's retro along with probably the best lyricism in this album mesh together into a unique Foster the People experience when it comes to these two. The psychedelia which apparently they were aiming for have been very evident in Time to Get Closer and Orange Dream. The starting three tracks Pay the Man, Doing It for the Money, Sit Next to Me get the album off to a great start.
The shortcomings of the album are as glaring as its brilliance. First I need to get this off my chest. Loyal Like Sid & Nancy is the single worst Foster the People track by quite some margin. There is simply no redeeming factor in this track. The title track of the album is also rather disappointing and feels like an oddly mismatched attempt at a song. The experimentation in the song Lotus Eater didn't have the payoff it could have had. Lyrically the album has been Foster the People's weakest by some margin. Lines like “These pixelated dreams are blowing up my pocket” are rather hard to find throughout the album. Most of the tracks unfortunately have forgettable and one dimensional lyrics.
There are a lot of things where “Sacred Hearts Club” comes up short. But the things that it does get right, it blasts them out of the park. Although it doesn't surpass the brilliance of its predecessors, it holds its ground as a fantastic album on its own right.
Nuren Iftekhar is your local stray cat in disguise; he interacts with people for food and hates bright light. He got Hufflepuff 3 times straight in Pottermore so no walking around that one. Send him obscure memes at firstname.lastname@example.org