What exactly is Foster The People? It’s difficult to really pin down this group. Their debut album Torches bred the surprise commercial hit that was ‘Pumped Up Kids’, and the entire production was licked up with a brand of dance-infused pop that was energetic, and most importantly, a lot of fun.
Now the group returns with their second record, but things have changed. Everything is far less danceable, less electronic, and it all sounds far more refined and measured. The whole production in undeniably glossy, but is that really what we want? My mind is left feeling fuzzy. ‘Best Friend’ is a highlight, with its groovy bass bopping throughout aided by soaring brass at the tracks climax, hurling the track to the forefront. Otherwise, the whole album seems to be lacking that Pumped Up Kicks moment. Which is fine. Nobody wants the band to just rehash old stuff. But they can’t be leaving us feeling flat either.
And nobody can accuse Foster The People of doing so. They’ve definitely taken a step forward, crafting something that, whilst enjoyable, isn’t particularly exciting. It’s just good. I definitely won’t be clamouring to play through the album again.
This new, uplifting, refined sound doesn’t suit Foster The People much. It is impressive, but most criminally less fun than the earworm-frenzy sound they delivered on their debut.
Some criticised the band’s Torches for sounding almost like a bad rip off of MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular. But just like Torches had the leviathan tunes, such as Miss You, Oracular Spectacular had Time To Pretend (one of my favourite ever songs). These songs are adored. And popular songs are usually popular for a reason: because they’re the best. Now, Foster The People’s frontman Mark Foster may describe his biggest hit Pumped Up Kicks as a ‘monster’, but at least he had a hit, because Supermodel certainly doesn’t. And the record suffers as a result. Coming away from the album, you can’t help but feel deflated. It all feels like the band are unsure just what it is that they want to do with themselves, and Supermodel is the product of this insecurity. At least we can be pleased that it’s not totally shit.