In the band’s full-length first album, Foster the People came to dance like the hipsters they are.
Formed in 2009, Foster the People has been on the fringes of the indie-pop scene. “Torches” is the band’s first grab at the spotlight, and their effort is impressive.
If indie-pop music were a dessert buffet, “Torches” would be an apple pie: classic, sweet, not too fancy but easily enjoyed by most. It’s not really original, but people will eat it up.
It’s not heavy music. It floats, it bounces and it makes you want to move. By definition, it’s exuberant summer pop.
Fans of MGMT and Hot Chip will find it easy to slide into the electronic-influenced pop beats, and the band’s subtle paired harmonies are reminiscent of Passion Pit at its finest.
The album’s lead single, “Pumped Up Kicks,” is a light-hearted jam with an addicting hook and a chorus you can whistle on your way to class. That being said, like most of the songs on the album, the lyrics are intelligent and unexpected, while the song is about a homicidal teenager. The juxtaposition the song establishes is striking and a little startling, but the bouncing melody and the dark lyrics play well together.
Lead vocalist Mark Foster exercises great vocal control, swinging from ethereal to punky with relative ease but his Achilles’ heel is his falsetto.
The album’s biggest weakness is clearly its repetition. The individual songs are great for the most part, but after multiple listens, all of the tracks blend together. Already settled comfortably into international charts, Foster the People’s “Torches” could be among the biggest indie successes of summer.
The album’s brilliant opening track, “Helena Beat” is free on iTunes this week, and Spinner.com is streaming the entire album for free this week.