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Album Review: Foster The People ‘Foster The People EP’

Check out my review of the band’s debut album ‘Torches’ here.

LA band Foster The People confirm their status as one of the acts to watch in 2011 with this exceptional, albeit short, debut EP that makes for essential summer listening.

As with most debut recordings, there are elements of both familiarity and surprise to this EP. Let’s start with the familiar: yes, Pumped Up Kicks is here. The band previously released it as a 12″ vinyl single along with a couple of b-sides, but this is the first time it has been officially released on a CD.

And it is as spectacular as ever. I’ve said it so many times, but it is one of the coolest songs I have ever heard. The juxtaposition between the subject matter (youth homicide) and the chilled summery style of the music is mesmerising, and the song itself is impossible catchy. It is also an extremely important song, because in my mind it demonstrates how lofi music can be done properly.

But you’ve heard all this before. What is interesting is that Pumped Up Kicks, the second track of the EP, is bookended by two dance songs. Maybe it is actually Pumped Up Kicks that is the glitch in the matrix in terms of Foster The People’s songwriting, because the other two tracks are almost unrecognisable as being from the same outfit.

But this isn’t to say they’re bad, in fact quite the opposite is true. Disbelievingly, I can’t even say that Pumped Up Kicks is the obvious standout track of the EP, because it’s really not. The other two tracks stand up on their own right as brilliant songs, and are just as addictive as the aforementioned Pumped Up Kicks.

The third and final track, Helena Beat, will already be familiar to fans of the band, after Foster The People made it available for free download. It has grown on me the more I listen to it however, and really does demonstrate a different, more upbeat style to the band’s songwriting. It has already become a bit of a radio hit here in Australia, and it’s not hard to see why.

I’ve saved the best for last, because the one track on this EP that will be new to people who follow Foster The People, the opening number of Houdini, is absolutely stunning. It is certainly more in line with the dancing feel of Helena Beat than it is with the lofi chill of Pumped Up Kicks, but elements of both songs combine here to make for the most immediately likeable song I have heard in a long time- in fact, probably since I first heard Pumped Up Kicks.

Overall, this is an absurdly strong debut offering from one of the hottest new bands in the world right now. Not only does it confirm the hype around the LA outfit, but it creates even more. It’s a slap in the face to anyone who had pre-emptively declared Foster The People a one-hit wonder, especially considering that each song is so unique but yet so memorable in its own way.

This record achieves something almost unheard of for a debut EP: every track is pretty much a guaranteed hit.

‘Foster The People EP’ will be released January 18th. Foster The People’s debut album is expected later this year.

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One Response to “Album Review: Foster The People ‘Foster The People EP’”

  1. Thanks for sharing the review. Love Foster the People! I think my favorite song (so far!) is “Pumped Up Kicks” Have you seen the video for it yet? Love it! http://www.vevo.com/watch/foster-the-people/pumped-up-kicks/USSM21001718

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