Words: Fiona Christensen
Foster the People prove they aren’t just another pumped up kick with their new album Supermodel
Pressing play on my iTunes for the new Foster the People (FTP) album Supermodel, I was rather excited to hear what Mark Foster, Cubbie Fink and Mark Pontius had managed to produce on their second album, especially after the acclaim of their 2011 album, Torches. And boy did they manage to produce something great. As many critics have said, they have made a quantum leap forward from their first album, clearly evident in the upbeat, foot-tapping tunes on the album.
The first single, Coming of Age, was released in January and fans were faced with a transformed band, a matured sound that floated out your speakers. The catchy lyrics, layered vocals and sparkling melody made for a good combination and people waited expectantly for the full album release on the 18th March. Since then, the album has made the charts in a few countries, with Coming of Age making waves in both the USA & UK.
The album title, Supermodel, explores the bands view on the superficial world, a world dealing with social issues and the ugly side of capitalism. The three hold a contempt for modern pop culture and carry this theme through in their lyrics. In The Truth, the words “I have tried so hard not to be like them. I have found they don’t ever say what they mean” rings clear in their fight against societal constraints. In a few songs we still feel the cynical darkness that we drew out of Pumped Up Kicks, and Fire Escape & Are You What You Want To Be? certainly don’t let the fans down.
Even the artwork on the album, done by Young & Sick, shows a superficial world, hurled into a horrible place by pressures from things like paparazzi, self-image and cosmetics. We see a supermodel hurling words, like vomit, onto the sidewalk as the paparazzi continue to snap away at the disaster before them.
However, despite some glowing reviews, Supermodel has fallen in gaining much positive feedback from top critics who have said many songs are styled off other bands and that FTP are simply selling themselves short. Yet despite the negativity, perhaps a change from Torches is what FTP needed and a coming of age was required to move the band forward. Sure, we hear a little MGMT and, James Blake and Sting-like vibes in many songs but still Foster’s voice rings through and we fall happily back into the world created by the music coming off Supermodel.
Some songs do lend to monotony, particularly in the lengthiness of each song, and the pop style the band so desperately tried to stay away from comes through in the beats and trills. And so after a few listens, I did need a break but give yourself an afternoon and just listen to the sounds created by FTP. Let yourself be taken in by the melodies exploding off the album for a short while, enjoying the rifts and vocal harmonies made by the trio.
Songs to listen to: Goats in Trees & Are You What You Want to Be? & The Truth