Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2 is much more consistent than its predecessor.
It should come as no surprise that Foals has released two albums in 2019, both centered on the same theme. The group has always done everything to the maximum of their collective abilities, and their release strategy is no different. While these two companion records have a through line of environmental devastation, musically they split the band’s styles into two respective poles. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 highlighted Foals’ more experimental side, finding them diving into synth rhythms, vibrant textures and dance-punk. Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2 though is a near-pure rock ‘n’ roll record, all big riffs and headbanging percussion that hits in the best way.
Part 1 wrapped up with Yannis Philippakis lamenting the fate of humanity in a planet on fire, as seen through his lyrics on “Sunday” (“Cities burn/ We don’t give a damn”) and the self-explanatory “I’m Done with the World (& It’s Done with Me).” But here, as the operatic atmospherics of “Red Desert” fade into “The Runner,” Foals takes off with a nasty, heavy guitar riff and lyrics ready to push forward. The time for wallowing in self-pity is over. This is an album of action. “If I fall down, fall down/ Then I know to keep on running,” Philippakis sings, turning his pain into motivation. On “Wash Off,” he similarly calls for living life to the fullest, even when “Hellhounds are back and on my heels.” The music sprints along with a more urgent take on the taut guitar lines that Foals did so well on albums like Holy Fire.
While an inner fire can be productive, Foals also knows how quickly those emotional embers can burn chaotically. On “Black Bull,” over a body-slamming riff that is required to be played at max volume, Philippakis shreds and screams about losing control. It’s when a life of adventure turns into one without caution and the destruction that can be wrought from that, both on a personal and global level. “Like Lightning” is similar, with an earthy blues riff finding the narrator ducking and weaving instead of fighting. A warped wailing backing vocal gives the track another cool touch.
Foals slows down a bit on “10,000 Feet,” a return to self-reflection after the feverish push of the album’s first half. “When I fall like a leaf from an autumn tree/ Dancing at 10,000 feet, come and catch me,” Philippakis sings, calling for help even as the music reaches a mountainous swell of guitars and synths. “Dreaming Of” fails to connect though, its production mudding and robbing the tune of the regret the band tries to get across.
To close, Foals slows things down with two songs reflecting on mortality. “Into the Surf” pairs high-pitched guitar needling, pounding piano chords and airy keyboard melodies, an excellent bed for Philippakis to grieve a death away from home. It’s one of their best slow numbers to date. The 10-minute “Neptune” unfolds into a full-on space-prog epic. When the chorus arrives and the layers of guitars kick in, it feels like turning to face the sun on Mercury, where it’s all-encompassing in the sky. You’ll want to close your eyes, turn up the volume and lose yourself as the track wanders off into space.
Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2 is much more consistent than its predecessor, although few tracks reach the heights of “On the Luna,” “In Degrees” or “Sunday.” Through these two records, it feels like Foals has emptied the vaults of the tricks they’ve used to date, while also learning a few new ones. Part 2 succeeds by burning along the road with some of the biggest riffs of their career, but also ending with an expansive epic. For Foals, “Neptune” isn’t the destination, it’s just the latest stop on their journey to uncharted horizons.