MUSIC - Foals saddle up for Barrowland gig

INDIE rockers Foals have just released their most successful album yet.

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But the band might eventually take a break – so their singer can write a ballet.

The Oxford fivesome has shifted to a more commercial sound in recent years, and new album, Holy Fire, is their most pop record yet.

But its creative ambitions don't stop there.

"I would hope we can do another record in a similar style to this, and then start to explore more ideas," explains keyboardist Ed Congreave, ahead of a sold-out Barrowland gig next Tuesday.

"We're now in our 30s and Yannis [Philippakis, singer] and Jimmy [Smith, guitarist] would like to explore music outside the band.

"I'm not saying we'd stop making music as a band entirely but Yannis is constantly talking about writing music for ballets and things like that, so who knows about the future?"

For now, the band can take pleasure in the present. Holy Fire reached No 2 in the charts, a sign that the group are stepping up to a bigger level.

Musically it's a far cry to their musical arrival, when 2008's Antidotes was full of complex, twisting indie rock.

Their second effort, 2010's Total Life Forever, went a different route, a more mature, emotional record and now Holy Fire points the way to arena gigs for the quintet.

Produced by Flood and Alan Moulder it's still a bold album, but one that targets a bigger audience than ever before.

"This is a continuation of the last record, which had been a significant jump from Antidotes," explains Ed.

"We changed a lot mentally after that and also came on musically.

"I don't think there's been a similar jump between the second and third ones, it's more just developing similar themes and that the song writing has got more ambitious, and it's got bigger.

"We're aiming for the pop jugular on a few songs this time."

That might surprise some fans who'd seen the band in their early, more jittery days, but it's not something that has taken Ed aback.

Having been friends with frontman Yannis for many years, the keyboardist reckons it's just the singer wanting to test himself.

"From 2006, I'm not sure I would have guessed that Yannis would have written pop songs, but it wouldn't have surprised me, either," he says.

"He wants to be able to write anything, and writing pop music is maybe the biggest challenge he's ever had.

"He's been writing dance music for years, but in a sense it's a natural progression for him to write pop, as it's another challenge."

You can judge for yourselves next Tuesday

l Foals, Barrowland, Tuesday March 5, 7pm. Sold out.

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