After capturing peoples attention with single “Pumped Up Kicks”, fresh faced LA Indie Pop troupe Foster The People put themselves on plenty of radars last year. 2011 see’s the trio release their debut album Torches which shows off plenty of happy go lucky pop potential.
The album is very light in both its instrumentation and tone throughout, and although its not plumbing the depths regarding substance, the style and the manner in which the record carries itself makes it a cool, enjoyable listen. Fuelled by shuffling drum beats, bouncy bass lines and rubbery 80′s tinged keyboard riffs Torches has a real summery feel good factor to it. Where the album excels is its ability to create really catchy numbers the chorus of songs like “Helena Beat” and “Pumped Up Kicks” deliver stripped down yet sticky hooks which attach themselves to your sub conscious with ease. Sometimes the hooks on the album have a tendency to be a little repetitive and sometimes it feels like they rely a little too heavily on them but they work well none the less. The group aren’t too shabby at creating the odd booty shaking groove either, “Call It What You Want” with its house inspired piano loop has a very Rapture esque danceability to it.
Although the album as a whole is enjoyable and catchy I dont think it quite lives up to what was expected, there are problems it has that hinders it somewhat. Much like the SBTRKT album I reviewed earlier this week it seems like Foster The People are still working out where their overall direction is headed towards. On this album they try their hand at a few different styles and implement different ideas into their work and sometimes the jump from sound to sound, although never massive can feel a little jarring. This happens a few times and effects the flow of the overall record quite a bit. Another issue is the recording of certain parts, some parts feel a little subdued and some parts feel a little rough. The albums closer is a good example of this, the vocals on “Warrant” feel very rough and again jilts the consistency of the album a little bit. But other than this Torches is a pretty good opening gambit for Foster The People. They seem to have a good idea of what their overall sound is they just need to knock out a few kinks and smooth over some of the their rough edges and they should be in a good place to build further upon this.