Fos­ter­ing am­bi­tions

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Music -

IT hasn’t al­ways been easy to be Fos­ter The Peo­ple. Mak­ing so­phis­ti­cated pop with thought­ful lyrics in dance­able, candy-coated hooks is like be­ing a char­ac­ter ac­tor trapped in a lead­ing man’s body. If that’s the case, then Fos­ter The Peo­ple re­sem­ble Brad Pitt on their third stu­dio al­bum.

Sa­cred Hearts Club gets the del­i­cate mix right, get­ting pro­gres­sively more com­plex as you go through the al­bum, de­liv­er­ing pure shim­mer­ing pop like Pay The Man and Sit Next To Me at the be­gin­ning, and end­ing with a glimpse of the LA-based band’s am­bi­tion in such com­plex, thrilling songs as Loyal Like Sid & Nancy and Har­den The Paint.

Led by lead singer, gui­tarist and key­boardist Mark Fos­ter, the band has un­der­gone changes since it cre­ated hits like Pumped Up Kicks and Hou­dini. The trio is now a quar­tet, with multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist Isom In­nis also help­ing pro­duce.

On the 12-track Sa­cred Hearts Club – two cuts are in­ter­ludes – Fos­ter The Peo­ple get help from The Hunger Games ac­tress Jena Malone on the airy Static Space Lover and OneRepub­lic’s Ryan Ted­der on the catchy first sin­gle, Do­ing It For The Money.

Mak­ing am­bi­tious pop isn’t easy – just ask Phoenix or Glass An­i­mals – but Sa­cred Hearts Club is way more mu­si­cally con­sis­tent than Fos­ter The Peo­ple’s last of­fer­ing, the com­plex, ul­ti­mately un­sat­is­fy­ing Su­per­model in 2014. This time, the band pairs joy­ous melodies with thought-pro­vok­ing con­tent in ever-in­creas­ing com­plex­ity and lets you find your sweet spot. But here’s the thing: You will find it. Mark Kennedy/AP OFFA Rex is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Bri­tish folk mu­si­cian Olivia Chaney and book­ish Amer­i­can in­die-rock band The De­cem­berists. With Chaney tak­ing al­most all the lead vo­cals, the ex­plicit tem­plate comes from Bri­tish folk-rock bands, circa 1970, such as Steel­eye Span, Sandy Denny-era Fair­port Con­ven­tion, and Shirley Collins with the Al­bion Band. Chaney sings th­ese canon­i­cal songs beau­ti­fully, in a clear, force­ful, of­ten melan­choly so­prano.

Willie o’Wins­bury and The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face are sparse and di­rect, but Sheep­crook And Black Dog and The Old Church­yard, are heavy and dra­matic, with echoes of the De­cem­berists’ progrock opus The Haz­ards Of Love. Throw in an in­stru­men­tal jig or two, and The Queen Of Hearts is de­lib­er­ately anachro­nis­tic – an echo of a style that it­self was an echo of cen­turies’-old tra­di­tions. But it’s a suc­cess­ful reen­act­ment. – Steve Klinge/The Philadel­phia Inquirer/Tri­bune News Ser­vice. RON­ALD and Ernie Is­ley team up with Car­los San­tana on the vig­or­ous Power Of Peace, putting their stamp on mostly spir­i­tu­ally in­clined songs from the likes of Marvin Gaye, Bil­lie Hol­i­day, Bacharach & David and Swamp Dogg.

Ron­ald Is­ley guested on San­tana IV, the 2016 al­bum which re­united most of the band’s orig­i­nal lineup, and the col­lab­o­ra­tion con­tin­ues here, with San­tana’s cur­rent band pro­vid­ing the foun­da­tions and Ernie Is­ley’s gui­tar py­rotech­nics prov­ing a har­mo­nious foil for the band leader.

Ver­sions of Cur­tis May­field and The Im­pres­sions’ Gypsy Woman, a pair of Cham­ber Broth­ers songs, Leon Thomas’ Let The Rain Fall On Me, Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecol­ogy) and Ed­die Ken­dricks’ Body Talk stick close to the orig­i­nals, some­times adding an ex­ces­sive dose of in­ten­sity.

San­tana lets it rip near the end of the seven-minute God Bless The Child, other­wise an oa­sis of re­straint, and Ron­ald Is­ley is in great form through­out.

Ste­vie Won­der’s Higher Ground is pushed over the top and ends up sound­ing like an au­di­tion for an NBA pro­mo­tion, name-check­ing many of the league’s le­gends and stars.

Cindy Black­man San­tana wrote the record’s sole orig­i­nal, I Re­mem­ber, which she sings with Ron­ald Is­ley. The bal­lad is a true rev­e­la­tion – tonal shades of Brazil and San­tana’s del­i­cate gui­tar lines heighten the re­gret. Hope­fully Black­man San­tana, mar­ried to Car­los and also the band’s as­ton­ish­ing drum­mer, will con­trib­ute more songs to the next al­bum.

Re­in­forc­ing their ad­vo­cacy, the Is­leys and San­tana close shop with parochial school and Christ­mas stal­wart Let There Be Peace On Earth. In­deed. – Pablo Gorondi/AP

Fos­ter The Peo­ple — Sony Mu­sic

Fos­ter The Peo­ple Sa­cred Hearts Club Sony

Offa Rex The Queen Of Hearts None­such

The Is­ley Broth­ers & San­tana Power Of Peace Sony

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.