What Went Down

Don't let the raucous, driving, unstoppable title track from Foal's fourth release fool you—What Went Down is much more than an average rock record. It is a step in a new direction for the UK band. It is an exploration of sound, soul and sinister situations. The band gets loads of mileage out of the intense physical, emotional and spiritual images and associations borne from tracks like “Albatross”—and marrying sublime harmonies and lush keys with singer Yannis Philippakis' increasingly ragged vocals and a constant insistent rhythm only adds to the push and pull from both ends of the spectrum. And, in contrast to the inherent beauty found in the down-tempo beat and cascading guitar work of “London Thunder,” Philippakis struggles to maintain his sense of self amid the craziness that surrounds him. This is a relatively sparse record in places, akin at times to the moods and sounds found on Coldplay's Ghost Stories, and even though the results are not as ebullient as previous outings, the effect is no less wondrous.