When Part 1 was released in March, Foals’ claims that its successor would be the rockier album seemed dubious: the songs on the initial record rocked hard. Surely, having been away for a while, the more commercially sensible move would be to release the record with the most immediate impact first? In short, commercial imperative be damned. As lead singles The Runner and live favourite Black Bull have hinted at, ENSWBL2 is an extended, relentless punch to the gut to follow Part 1’s frantic tease.
Once shimmering instrumental prelude Red Desert is dispensed with, the first side in particular is as triumphant as anything in Foals’ catalogue. The Runner and Wash Off are heavy funk like RHCP finally opting to use their powers for good, while Black Bull and Like Lightning are straight-up classic rock monsters in a manner rarely done so skilfully outside of QOTSA anymore. Side two is more atmospheric, with the slo-mo 10,000 Feet a menacing bridge into the more straightforward ambience of Into The Surf. The much-talked-about 10-minute finale Neptune actually takes a couple of minutes to get going but, once it does, seems set to end Foals’ gigs for the rest of their career.
The decision to wait until the full picture was unveiled makes sense after all. With a whole gig’s worth of new music released this year alone, there’s nothing to stop them at next year’s festivals. An already mighty band just elbowed their way into greatness.