By Stephen Taylor / Special to The Daily Yomiuri
LONDON--When British indie band Foals touch down at Narita Airport this month for the first of two rapid-fire trips to Japan, bassist Walter Gervers' pangs for a nicotine fix will be accompanied by a lesson he learned during the group's last visit to the country two years ago.
"I'm just a little bit fragile this morning—I'm trying to pound as much coffee as I can," said.
With the release of Foals' second album, Total Life Forever, last week, the Oxford five-piece are aiming to build on the success of their 2008 album, Antidotes. With its jerky, post-punk rhythms, the group's debut was an impressive supplement to the frenetic anarchy of their live shows. Total Life Forever has taken that energy and harnessed it with sublime melodies and incisive vocals from singer/guitarist Yannis Philippakis, a progression Gervers puts down to the band's fresh creative
"We're a lot braver with our our emotions now—Yannis especially—to be able to not bark over something and not leave the lyrics till last, which always happened with the first album.
"There's a lot more heart, there's a lot more soul, it's been a lot more possible for Yannis to have space for the lyrics to be part of the songs from their early stages, rather than being tacked on at the end," he said.
The album's pivotal track, "Spanish Sahara," demonstrates how far Foals have evolved and it's no surprise to hear that it has become a live favorite.
"It's a really important song for us in the set, which is great, and it allows everyone to just stop and think and listen for a minute, which has been really good and important for us to keep the set moving ave lots of color. 'Sahara' has been doing that and it gets a really good response, and that's good," he said.
Foals marked the British release of Total Life Forever with a pulsating set in London. Philippakis was in top form, going walkabout through the audience and climbing onto the PA stack. Gervers was upbeat about the upcoming Japan shows.
"There'll definitely be a lot of energy, we should be in good form—we always get quite excited when we get to go further afield. We'll play as much of the new record as we can, but there'll still be some old songs in there," he said.
Foals will play at Astro Hall in Harajuku, Tokyo, on June 15 at 7 p.m and Fuji Rock Festival in Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata Prefecture, on Aug. 1. For more information visit
(4 June 2010)