(7 out of 10) Foster the People’s debut album ‘Torches’
Let me first start with saying, no, Pumped Up Kicks is not the best song on this record. It comes as a surprise to most people but is a great sign of things to come for these keyboard heavy hipsters. This catchy synth based band got its name on the map from the ever so popular song Pumped Up Kicks around the middle of 2011. From there they continued to tour and support the new album while also making music videos for nearly half of the record (which of course plays very well into the bands YouTube visibility). People love to listen to songs on YouTube, but an interesting high definition video always propels the video to millions more views. This follows true with the 7th song on the album, and my personal favorite ‘Houdini’. The song perfectly embodies the eclectic feel of Mark Foster’s musical sense. Encorporating jazz, glam rock, and even a hip hop element this song includes sounds from a wide range of genres. Complete with a catchy keyboard riff and their signature high-pitched vocals this song touches on the human emotion of sometimes wanting to just disappear. From Pumped Up Kicks to the new singles like ‘Houdini’ and ‘Helena Beat’ this album has enough visibility and catchyness in the mainstream media to propel it to sure gold sales.
Overall for a debut album from a young band I think this is about as good as it gets. Most people will recognize and identify, of course, with the kicks that are pumped up but for anyone looking to get into this new age synth-rock incarnation I would say this is a very fun and positive band to get into. While many have argued all of the songs sound the same (this is partially true) they all sound the same in very different ways if that makes any sense. Each song is diverse and bright in that sometimes the only thing drawing them together is the electric keyboard. Other times you think they just took Pumped Up Kicks and changed the pitch to make songs like Waste (these two songs sound almost identical besides the vocal effects). Only time will tell if Foster the People will end up in the one-hit-wonder graveyard like so many other pop bands but my guess would be surely no. They have too much talent and are coming into the scene at a perfect time for this type of sound. I am excited to see what they bring with their next singles and subsequent second album.