MUSIC TODAY: Foster The People returns with new experimental album “Sacred Hearts Club”


Kyle Kissinger, Assistant Lifestyles Editor

I believe almost everyone has heard Foster The People’s 2011 hit “Pumped Up Kicks” to the point of overkill.

I also believe that “Pumped Up Kicks” does not measure up to some of the band’s other material. While Foster The People’s first record, “Torches,” still remains one of my favorite indie records to date, the band has not simply rehashed that same aesthetic for each subsequent project—and for good reason. The band just released their third record, “Sacred Hearts Club,” this summer and their developments in both sound and subject have kept the album in heavy rotation for me since.

“Sacred Hearts Club” is more experimental in comparison to their previous work, with “Torches” being more a electronic/synth heavy album and 2014’s “Supermodel” having a guitar-driven sound. “Sacred Hearts Club” takes the all best parts of its predecessors and creates something new. It maintains the synth-pop, happy sound Foster The People are known for, while still exploring new territory. Songs such as “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy,” “Pay the Man” and “Doing It For The Money” are influenced by a mix of ’60s psychedelia and EDM/trap beats, styles that are not heavily present in Foster The People’s first two records.

The inspiration for this record came from lead singer Mark Foster’s frustration with the constant tragedies in the world and his desire to use this negativity to create something positive. In an interview with The Independent, Foster said, “for the past two years I felt like I’ve woken up and something has happened that is tragic… It was an interesting narrative, walking into the studio with that being on my shoulders from that morning. And for us it was really important, it became clear that as artists we wanted to make something that was joyful and unifying, and remind people that life is still beautiful.”

While the album refrains from being overly political throughout (in comparison to “Supermodel”), “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy” features a lyric (“where Satan lies in satin tweets and realigns his facelift”) which directly criticizes President Donald Trump’s tweeting habits. This is not surprising, as Foster spent time campaigning with Bernie Sanders for the 2016 U.S. Election.

One of the album’s strongest tracks, “Sit Next To Me,” is a groovy, uplifting tune, and is the most faithful to the classic, catchy Foster The People sound. “Static Space Lover” features vocals from “The Hunger Games” Jena Malone, resulting in a psychedelic duet that sounds almost like a Christmas song from outer space.

This record is difficult to categorize as a specific genre as the collective sound is a mixed bag. Despite this, the tracks still manage to flow almost seamlessly into another; the album has two interludes, which significantly help its overall momentum, and even the more jarring transitions—like the one from “Lotus Eater”—an upbeat, punk rock influenced song—into a slow, Beach Boys-esque interlude (“Time To Get Closer”)—still somehow work.

The diversity within “Sacred Hearts Club” is what makes this record special and proves that Foster’s theory of experimentation does pay off.

Catch Foster The People live in Charlotte on October 2nd at The Fillmore.

Highlights: “Pay The Man,” “Sit Next To Me,” “Static Space Lover,” “Lotus Eater”