Foster the People’s sophomore album Super Model has been released…and the many of us that were taken aback by the greatness of their first album, Torches, now have new material to dig into. It goes without saying that this album had so much hype surrounding it, especially considering the success of their debut album, Torches. It was a style of album that I had never come across before. Everybody remembers the commercial success of “Pumped Up Kicks”, surely, but it was the album as a whole that forever made me a Foster fan. While I initially thought it was a unique sound, after reading an article by Chris Deville, of Stereogum, it dawned upon that Foster had in fact filled in the void left by MGMT after they decided to change their sound (which was largely disliked by the masses). They also have a “The Killers” sound to them as well.
The combination of factors that Foster wasn’t as original as I once made them out to be and making another album to the magnitude of Torches seeming like an almost impossible task, made me realize that Super Model was probably going to be a disappointment. While I haven’t listened to the entire album yet, I have heard enough to know that I’m not satisfied. The first single they released was “Coming of Age”, a medium paced track that doesn’t have much substance. It goes along for awhile and then culminates to a chorus that doesn’t make up for the blandness that you put up with to get there. It does remind me of “Helena Beat”, which was my favorite song on Torches, but definitely lacks the charm. Even if you’ve heard it, give it one more listen and see if there’s any reason this song would be released to the public if it weren’t for the Foster’s previous success.
While that song gave me a bad feeling going into the rest of the album, I will say that they at least have made an attempt to change their sound on some of the other tracks. Namely, “Pseudologica Fantistica”; it for sure has a uncharacteristic, fuzzy sound to it and appears to be a merger between Foster the People and past shoegaze acts like Jesus and Mary Chain or Ride. They throw in some sax which is somewhat becoming a Foster staple. Foster’s vocals are top-notch on this song. He shows off his range hitting highs and lows throughout the song. It ends up being a 5 and half minute joyride that is rather entertaining.
I still need to give this album a few more listens before I give my final verdict. As I’ve made it painfully clear in this write-up, it’s a long ways away from Torches, but I expect this group to keep it going and hit that stroke of genius that made them so successful at first. Keep doing what you’re doing, Marc Foster.