Review: Foals finish epic journey with a second CD this year

Foals, "Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost — Part 2" (Warner Bros.)

When the last album from indie-pop art rockers Foals ended, things sounded grim. There were dead foxes and burning hedges and rain. Frontman Yannis Philippakis was on his knees.

Things seem a little more hopeful on their new album, "Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost — Part 2," which comes out seven months after the first part. Taken together, these batch of songs prove Foals to be at the top of their game, making complex, brilliant music.

"Part 1" came out in March, giving us the super tracks "Exits," ''In Degrees" and "On the Luna." If that album was often new wave-y and computer-assisted, the second part is much harder and guitar-driven, with the bombastic, hyper-masculine "Black Bull" almost veering into thrash.

The band this time explores elements in nature — fire, earth, sea and sky. The 10-track album kicks off with the instrumental "Red Desert" (who else could get away with starting a CD with an instrumental?) and then moves into "The Runner," one of the band's best and an exhortation to keep fighting. Philippakis is no longer on his knees.

In fact, there's defiance built into the second part. "I will not be undone," Philippakis sings in "Like Lightning." And on "10,000 Feet," he vows to "burn all the liars." There are thematic connections between the two album parts — crows and the surf echo throughout — but they scratch different musical itches.

It gets progressively proggy by the end, eventually ending with the bold, spacey and cinematic "Neptune," which clocks in at more than 10 minutes. (Who else is doing 10-minute songs?)

"It's time to go," Philippakis sings and his band seems to have found a way out of this existential horror, an escape they sought in "Exit" from "Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost — Part 1." The snag? It may be in outer space, judging from the title. To which we say: Take us with you.

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Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press