I remember the day I received my first Foster The People album. It was Christmas of 2012 and my sister had gifted me Torches, their epic debut. I remember my excitement and how I rushed to my computer to download the songs onto iMusic.
Now, five years later, I’m sitting in a coffee shop listening to Sacred Hearts Club for the third time today feeling like I’ve struck gold. The band has dropped in slivers of Torches on SHC and pumped it up with a club tempo.
I can’t help but feel like I’m back in a night club in Paris, jamming to Loyal Like Sid & Nancy gyrating awkwardly through a crowd of sweaty Parisians. (Not the best picture, but that’s literally what I think of every time I listen to it.)
Like the album cover, I feel like everything is shimmering in pinkish-red, lit by a smoky neon sign that reads Sacred Hearts in French – Cœurs sacrés.
My go jam is obviously Pay the Man. It’s hard and it just makes sense as the opening track to their long awaited junior effort. I feel like I can go rob a bank and count my stacks upon stacks after listening to it. When FTP released it a few months ago, Pay the Man was the PERFECT comeback single. I listened to it every day for a month straight.
Front-man, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mark Foster really knows how to craft a catchy genre bending song. He’s a genre bender and transcender in a way most writers aren’t. Foster can write an indie pop song, club banger or 1960’s piano ballad in a matter of albums. In Torches, he brushed a canvas of yellow-gold lyrics, filled the empty spaces with blue from Supermodel and then tore a completely new canvas for Sacred Hearts.
Their reinvention leads listeners down a new rabbit hole featuring darker songs that don’t themselves too seriously. It may be a lot for listeners looking for a more “traditional” album, but as an advocate for fresh sounds, I quite like it.
If you listen closely there are still signature moments found throughout SCH. They’re used very sparingly, but they’re there in unexpected places. Next time you listen, keep an ear open for the weird distorted laughs from Torches. The sounds must belong to one of the creatures in the mob on the front of that album. My best guess is that it’s probably the weirdo holding a flashlight too close to his face.
FTP isn’t afraid to go over the line and channel their own magical mystery on Static Space Lover. It kindly bounces to a beachy guitar riff as Foster’s reverberated voice rolls around you. He’s accompanied by a mystery female (Jena Malone) a minute in harmonizing as they swirl into the heavens as the “space lovers” in the song.
At 41 minutes long, seven minutes shorter than Supermodel and three minutes longer than Torches, Sacred Hearts Club delivers on all fronts with the exception of one song. Doing It for the Money. It’s not that bad of a song, but for some reason, I can’t get over the lyrics “So close your eyes/We’re gonna run this light/We live our lives/Yeah, we’re not wasting time.” I’m sorry, but I just can’t with that song.
Overall I feel like Foster The People have returned with an album much better than its predecessor and worthy of comparison to their debut. There are enough good songs to tide us over until the comeback tour.