Foals have spoken about the crossover potential of new album Life Is Yours.
With opening sales of 21,311, it debuted at No.3 last Friday (June 24) behind Harry Styles and Drake. Although it failed to match the No.1 performance of 2019's Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Pt 2, Foals actually increased week one sales for Life Is Yours compared to its predecessor.
The band recorded their seventh album in lockdown, which influenced its musical direction.
“If everything was as normal, we probably wouldn’t have made it,” explained frontman Yannis Philippakis of the album's feel. “The real desire to make a poppy, dancey record came from the absence of all that joy. I missed nightlife more than I thought possible. I realised that I really do belong in the pub.”
“I call it the funky Foals album, which I’m sure Yannis will hate me for,” suggested Warner Records SVP Jennifer Ivory of the album's appeal. “There’s always been a really funky side to them, especially live, and this album really encapsulates that.”
President Joe Kentish, who is working with Foals for the first time on Life Is Yours, praised the band's ability to innovate artistically and expand their potential audience.
“Foals have evolved over their career and are now one of the most important acts in the UK,” he said. “They have got this innate ability to keep their distinct Foals sound while always pushing boundaries and surprising us. They have this desire to never stand still, and the latest result of that is their most upbeat album yet.”
I call it the funky Foals album, which I’m sure Yannis will hate me for
Jennifer Ivory agreed that this quality meant Foals were not so dependent on genre appeal as some of their peers.
“Tracks that might have fitted easily on a rock playlist are going to have to fit on other ones,” she explained. “We want to cross over to party lists and pop lists as well. I think we can find a broader audience with an album that isn’t so genre-specific.”
Last week, Music Week reported manager Peter Mensch's view that it remains a tough environment for rock acts. But Foals continue to win over both audiences and the industry.
“When the last two records came out, I felt like there was some vibe in the crowd, like they were happy we’re still here because so many bands have dropped off,” said drummer Jack Bevan. “With the support of Radio 1 and stuff, it feels like people are happy to have us around because there’s no-one else really doing this.”
Life Is Yours is Foals' first album as a three-piece after the departure of keyboardist Edwin Congreave ahead of its recording – bassist Walter Gervers left in 2018 – and the group admit some readjustment was needed while making the record,
“We need to take time to get used to being a three-piece because we had such a good balance with the five of us and now there’s just three hard edges round the table,” explained Philippakis.
“It’s weird,” added guitarist Jimmy Smith of the new line-up. “You don’t want someone to be unhappy in the band because it’ll drag at the whole thing but, at the same time, it sucks, because they’re our friends and the band keeps changing. It’s sort of annoying there’s so much change going on at the moment.”
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