What’s a band to do after receiving rave album reviews and being nominated for a third Mercury Music Award? Release Part 2. Originally recorded as one unit, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost needed to be divided into two parts.
Independently produced, Everything Not Saved is also Foals’ first release without notable bassist Walter Gervers. Understandably, doubt danced around Part 1’s March 8 release date. Even after an overwhelmingly positive response from both fans and critics, that same uncertainty began to resurface after the announcement of Part 2 in July, which promised heavier, darker content than was featured in Part 1. Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis went on to dispel tensions as he justified to DIY earlier this year that Part 2 could be considered a response to the cliffhanger listeners were left with upon Part 1’s conclusion.
And respond it did. Ultimately presenting the narrative of coming to terms with a dying world, Part 2 directly addresses the burning hedges and dead foxes listeners are left with in the melancholic ending of Part 1, which is titled “I’m Done with the World (& it’s Done With Me).” Abandoned alongside nothing but helplessness is a world wracked with turmoil and self imposed devastation, Part 2 serves as an epic comeback for a protagonist tired of living through hell and eager to just start living.
Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 centers itself in disaster. Invoking anxiety and paranoia-ridden lyrics alongside irresistibly dancey tracks, Foals blatantly communicates the world’s desire to escape its fears and trepidations with simple pleasures. With a focus on political uncertainty and a planet in peril, Part 1 questions whether or not we truly pay attention to the world around us. “In Degrees” is full of double entendres and showcases the loss of a relationship “bit by bit and day by day” while subtly nodding to a more catastrophic picture, as the Earth is lost to global warming in an all too similar fashion. Through lack of communication and general disinterest, the UK alternative band seeks to demonstrate the damage that’s indirectly caused by neglect.
Foals continues its exploration of societal decay with “On the Luna,” which tackles the ever-growing political tensions and the frustration that’s at the root of public apathy. With surging crescendos and undeniable urgency, Philippakis compellingly addresses generational divides and his feelings of helplessness as he stands by with “Trump clogging up my computer.” Peppered with uncertainty, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 morbidly introduces goliath issues with little guidance, leaving listeners to dwell in the aftermath.
So how to answer the end of the world? Part 2 defiantly tells listeners to just keep on living. Transitioning seamlessly from melodic and ethereal opener “Red Desert,” “The Runner” offers up dogged determination and perseverance amid confusion. With chunky guitar and no-nonsense riffs, the lyrics find much more codetermination in this second installment than in the first.
Foals doesn’t just delve into surmounting worldly difficulties, however. “Black Bull” showcases a bravado that can only accompany independent survival. Written with an aftertaste of spite, the strength that was originally considered becoming in “The Runner” has quickly devolved into straight up arrogance. Philippakis embodies this menacing side through his unforgiving, brash vocals—the most intense track of the entire project.
Coupling perspective with genre-defying (and defining) songs, Foals serves up the end of the world unapologetically, demanding a response. In the previously mentioned interview with DIY, drummer Jack Bevan recounts the band’s motivation to stray a bit from its typical, mathy rhythm and instead extend into a more experimental sound. With the release of the group’s fifth and sixth studio albums within the same year, Bevan feared that Everything Not Saved would be considered just “another Foals record.” It is safe to say that his worries were all for naught.
While not originally intended as two distinct albums, the split of Everything Not Saved emphasizes the complementary nature of the tracks, a duality that a single release simply would not encapsulate. With the paranoia of MUSE, the defiance of Green Day, and the contemplation of The Smiths, Foals establishes a solid narrative within a concept album that is similarly radio worthy and tour ready. Pushing boundaries and embodying emotion, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2 ties off Foals’ most influential pair of releases to date.
Featured Image by Warner Records