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May 23, 2011 - Image 9

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-05-23

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Monday, May 23, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

9

Foster the People lights bright 'Torches'

The three Foster
boys excel on new
effervescent LP
By ELLIOT ALPERN
Daily Arts Writer
The music industry had every
reason to write off the 20-month-
old baby more commonly known
as Foster the People. Prior to
Torches, the band
had just an EP ****
and a mildly pop-
ular song to their Foster the
name - the latter People
being "Pumped
Up Kicks," which Torches
managed to Columbia
bite, scratch and
claw its way up
to number four on the Billboard
Alternative Songs chart. Other
than that, the outfit previously
known as "Foster & the People" (at
least before that pesky ampersand
was dropped) was untried and
untrue, just another indie band

hopeful in the vast musical land-
scape of Los Angeles. However,
with Torches, Foster the People
has emerged from the detritus
bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,
poised (with a little bit of luck) to
take the independent music scene,
by storm.
Though it is and will likely con-
tinue to be the most successful
track off of the album, "Pumped
Up Kicks" is the black sheep on
Foster the People's first release.
With a pop-oriented chorus and
a laid-back aura, the single is
cool and smooth where the other
tracks are delightfully fidgety. The
opening "Helena Beat" employs a
dangerously dance-inspiring beat
and lively synthesizers, as does
the majority of Torches (pinning
Foster the People somewhere
between Passion Pit and MGMT).
Likewise, "Houdini" is absolutely
contagious in its catchiness, and
proves to be the best track on the
record.
Instead of the common prob-
lems that most first releases run
into - say, lack of material or

general inconsistency - Torches
struggles most with its own innate
weirdness. This isn't necessarily
detrimental; in fact, "I Would Do
Anything For You" is eerily remi-
niscent of an Abba hit on its third
can of Red Bull (seriously, with a
chorus of "Ooh la love, I've fallen
in love"), but it works. However,
"Life on the Nickel" has just a few
too many gimmicks, and comes off
as eclectic rather than inventive.
Contagiously
catchy.

"Hi, we win the people over with our impish smiles."

All in,
glass ofc
and even
like your
it starts
an hour.
songs, w
ways, ar
Their soi

does still require some polish, and
shows promise. The album proves
that, while the band has the chops
all, Torches is much like a to make cohesive work, with a
hampagne. It's crisp, fun little more effort it can produce a
almost effervescent, but consistent and exceptional record.
average Dom Pirignon, Off of the heels of Torch-
going flat after about half es, Mark Foster and his fellow
However, the last three musicians have a busy summer
'hile novel in their own planned. After a stint on "Jimmy
e ultimately disposable. Kimmel Live," the momentum-
und is unique even if it charged act will head to Wash-

ington for the Sasquatch Festival.
Then, following a packed summer
of touring through the United
States, Europe and Australia, Fos-
ter the People will appear both at
Lollapalooza and Outside Lands
Festival. Though a festival invita-
tion can be a positive sign, it can
also be an omen of fleeting star-
dom. For the time being, consider
Foster the People unproven but
bright with potential.

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