Indie groups that have achieved mainstream success due to fresh sounds on their debut album certainly haven’t been few and far between in the past five years. In the last year, names like Lorde, Passenger, Of Monsters & Men and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have all cracked the Billboard Top 10, asserting the fact that the faces of music in the 2010’s will be much different to that of the previous decade.
Where many of these artists have trouble however, is the follow-up album. With public pressure more prominent thanks to social media, many crack and fail to deliver. This cannot be said for Foster The People, who have served up another soundtrack for the summer.
To compare ‘Supermodel‘ to their 2011 release ‘Torches‘ is to compare a can of Coke Zero to that of original Coke. Their newer album is a lot less manufactured, lacking many of the wild combinations of sounds that a machine can conjure up. Mark Foster and his group have matured and decided to conform with many of the indie ‘standards’. While ‘Torches’ could be seen as brazen, ‘Supermodel‘ is certainly more conservative.
Despite this, ‘Supermodel‘ doesn’t fail to deliver and if taken on its own merit is a wonderfully presented album.
The album opens with ‘Are You What You Want To Be‘, a track heavily influenced by Foster’s visit to Morocco, with an upbeat African theme. Foster the People love their “Na Na Na’s” and this song certainly isn’t lacking any more.
‘Ask Yourself‘ at first listen sounds like it has a heavy Oasis influence, as ridiculous as it sounds. It’s another Foster tune about failure with an upbeat tone, but also perhaps has inspirational themes. While not as stripped back as other songs on the album, it certainly presents a calmer Foster.
The first single ‘Coming Of Age‘ was released in January but has so far failed to chart highly. It’s a simplistic tune, comparable to ‘Pumped Up Kicks‘, with a summer/chill vibe. ‘Coming Of Age‘ is about the bands rise from strugglers to superstars after ‘Torches‘.
‘Nevermind‘ is a song which contains little substance and is largely poor. It’s another simplistic, easy going tune but the lyrics are disappointing. Rhyming a word with itself may have worked for Pitbull, but it hasn’t worked here. The song’s ending seems to drag on and perhaps if put at the end of the album it could’ve fit, but it just isn’t appropriate here.
Considering it did so well for them last time, indietronica features on this album with ‘Pseudologia Fantastica’. While it sounds like MGMT’, compared to their other works it is manufacturely plain. It is Foster’s ‘Paranoid Android’.
‘The Angelic Welcome of Mr. Jones‘ is pretty much Foster the People telling us they can use autotune. Did they run out of ideas? A waste of song space.
The first track fans of ‘Torches‘ should listen to is ‘Best Friend‘. This song has already been released as the third single and easily has the best chance of becoming the hit. It’s a summer anthem about your friends being strung out – an upbeat tune about an unfortunate event. Foster the People are continuing on the ‘Pumped Up Kicks‘ tradition.
‘A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon‘ is a really weird song. It sounds like Muse, Placebo and U2 fused together, but this is not necessarily a good thing. The range of Mark Foster’s vocals change an uncountable amount of times, however the instruments lends off the manufactured sounds well.
One of the highlights of the album is ‘Goats in Trees‘. It’s a beautiful tune of a personal long journey of misunderstanding and misfortune. While it is acoustically told from the perspective of an old man, it is another typical Foster The People upbeat song.
‘The Truth‘, like ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon‘ seems to lend aspects from Muse and Placebo. Starting and ending quite belligerently, the chorus seems to involve Foster’s voice being heightened tenfold, which is odd but effective.
To finish the album is ‘Fire Escape‘, a song that seems almost unfinished. This acoustic tune you’d expect to hear at the start of an indie film such as ‘Juno’, but lyrically is very good. “I am a fire escape. My spine is made of iron, my heart pumps out old red paint.”
Overall, ‘Supermodel‘ is an enjoyable album and while it is no ‘Torches‘, it certainly holds its own. My rating: 7.5/10.