Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Pumped Up Kicks

Song: Pumped Up Kicks
Artist: Foster the People
Album: Torches

Friend and reader Geoff suggested I check out L.A.-based band Foster the People's debut album "Torches" that was released back in May.  One listen and I was immediately hooked.  They immediately reminded me of Australia's Empire of the Sun, though the more I listen to "Torches," the less I think that's true.  They have a laid-back mid-tempo feel to their brand of alternative pop.  I immediately heard their light electro sound, though they seem to be aimed toward the American Alternative Rock audience.  And the album had already reached the top of both the Billboard Alternative and Rock lists.  How have I never heard of this band?

Foster the People were formed in 2009 and consists of Mark Foster, Mark Pontius, and Cubbie Fink.  They gained interest in the band by playing South by Southwest and being highlighted on The Hype Machine.  The single "Pumped Up Kicks" is their best known track, which reached no. 3 on the on Billboards Alternative Songs Chart.

"Pumped Up Kicks" is certainly an album highlight, but thankfully it's just one of many great tracks here.  Second single and album opener "Helena Beat" starts things off with a minimal beat and some experimental sounds before exploding into some electro-reverb.  But the song, and album, really kick off when Foster's vocals kick in... hand claps, guitar, and building synths mix with some undeniable melodies.  It's really sublime.

"Don't Stop (Color the Walls)" sounds a lot like a male version of Tegan and Sara to me, matching their cadence and adept skill at a punchy, undeniable chorus.  I also like the pretty "Waste" and groovy-piano assisted "I Would Do Anything For You."  But honestly... this album is great start to finish.  It's chock full of sunny melodies and a breezy charm that's absolutely infectious.  I haven't heard any yet, but their sound is really begging for some proper remix action.

In a summer... heck year, where a lot of new music just isn't thrilling me, it was great to hear something that immediately grabbed me and sounded great.  Highly, highly recommending this album.  Pick it up and let it soundtrack the end of your summer!


Pumped Up Kicks
Helena Beat
Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)

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