Thursday, June 2, 2011
Speakers Rating: 89/100
In 2010, LA's dance/pop/rock outfit Foster The People sparked onto the scene with a tight three song self-titled EP. That EP featured "Pumped up Kicks" and "Helena Beat," two tracks reviewed (and much beloved) by this very site, and "Houdini" another upbeat piece of synth and drum driven excellence. On the strength of these three tracks, Foster The People set out on a captivating tour (including a rousing, sweaty show at Chicago's Schubas) while continuing to develop the songs that would eventually become their debut LP Torches (Columbia Records).
Torches thrives in Foster The People's sweet spot, with each track cooking up a different balance of the group's pop, rock, and dance sensibilities. The ten track record features the three songs from the EP, but these tunes are just kindling for Torches' dynamic conflagration. Putting a hot foot forward, Torches starts off with "Helena Beat," cools it down with the infectious "Pumped Up Kicks," and launches into the new material with "Call It What You Want," a straightforward dance-rock anthem.
"Call It What You Want"
The party burns on with "Color On The Walls (Don't Stop)," a groovy tune that has been forged in the sound of The Dandy Warhols, and "Waste," a more relaxed (but still bouncy) track that is a close to a ballad as FTP gets.
"Waste" is chased by "I Would Do Anything For You," perhaps the sweetest and most intoxicating of the non-EP tracks. Crackling with "Ooh La La's" and "I'm Falling in Love's," the tune is a direct descendant of late '90s one hit wonder The New Radicals (in a good way, trust us) and will make you wax nostalgic while dancing.
"I Would Do Anything For You"
In the final third of the record, Torches races to the finish and dials up the dance with hot tracks like "Hustling (Life On The Nickel)" and "Miss You," a drum and synth powered (but vocally melodic) stomper. The record closes with piano-accented "Warrant," another incredibly well put together pop-rock composition. As with most of the tracks on Torches, "Warrant" wastes no time reaching the catchy hook, the ultimate payoff of the tune that will brand itself on the listeners' brains for weeks and months to come.
Overall, Torches is a polished start to finish effort from FTP. On the fuel of this surprisingly strong debut and their dexterous live performances, FTP are certainly primed to blow up. Torches may not be a record that inspires a musical revolution or incites deep personal introspection, but it will make you move your extremities and bob your cranium, repeatedly and incessantly. It very well may be the album of the summer, but don't be surprised if Torches' tracks heat up your ear-buds deep into the fall and winter as well.
Watch a live performance of "Miss You" below and pick up Torches here.