After an arduous two-and-a-half year wait, Foster the People have finally released their second album Supermodel to their eager fans only to disappoint.
The pressure of one-upping the band’s chart topping debut album Torches must have been extreme, which poses the question — where does this album stand in comparison to the first?
Supermodel scores a 6.5 on my quality scale. Though a good album overall, there is no way to compare it to the band’s previous work. Recogized for its cheery, fast-paced sound, Torches was unlike anything many listeners had heard before. It is safe to say that Supermodel has an incredibly different feel and a completely new effect on the listener because of it.
Lead singer Mark Foster has expressed concern that fans may brush aside the band’s new work due to the mainstream popularity of their previous hit single “Pumped Up Kicks.” Though it may have brought the band into the limelight, Foster the People seems determined not to become a one-hit-wonder. Supermodel will definitely weed out the true fans from those that just have different dubstep remixes of “Pumped Up Kicks” in their iTunes libraries.
The band’s sophomore release is a concept album that gets rid of the simple, feel-good tracks found on Torches and replaces them with some startlingly angry pieces. The album is rumoured to be a negative outlook on consumerism and popular culture, making it the perfect comeback to the radio frenzy created by “Pumped Up Kicks”.
This new slate of songs has a way of luring the listener in. “Are You What You Want to Be” is perfect as the first track on the album as it is the most upbeat. But it is also subtly hinting at the monstrosity that of capitalism with lyrics such as “I wait for revolution.”
The slow soothing sound of the guitar at the beginning of “Ask Yourself” almost makes you want to check to be certain that you are listening to the right band. The electronic sound that Foster the People was previously known for eventually slides in, although not as boldly portrayed as the song’s acoustic rhythm.
Foster shows off a wildly different singing style in “Fire Escape,” making it a standout track on the album while displaying that same beautiful acoustic sound. “Best Friend” is another gem as it brings listeners back to the days of disco pants, afros and roller rinks with its high-pitched vocals and psychedelic trumpet solos.
Despite the obvious stand-out tracks, the album is a little sloppy. A few songs seem to be more space fillers than anything else. The strange lyrical mess found throughout Torches worked in the band’s favour then but is a bit off the mark this time around. The harmonized theme doesn’t make up for the combination of every genre imaginable, contradicting the feeling of unity that the band was aiming for.
Supermodel’s saving grace lies in the quality of a handful of standout tracks, so be sure to put this album on shuffle to avoid getting lost in the jarring mixture of genres and sounds.