After more than 20 collective award nominations for their three big hits, “Pumped Up Kicks,” “Houdini,” and “Helena Beat,” the indie pop band Foster the People is roaring back with a new album called “Supermodel” that’s already leaving its mark.
No, really – a giant mural of the album cover was painted along the face of a building in downtown Los Angeles, a block away from where front-man Mark Foster lives. Foster told Rolling Stone Magazine that he wanted to create something tangible, “independent from the music.”
The mural features a ‘supermodel’ bending over and throwing up some quaint poetry while the paparazzi take pictures of her from all angles. A time-lapse video of the mural being painted was released in January coupled with the song “Coming of Age,” the record’s first single.
Not unlike “Torches,” Foster the People’s first wildly successful album, “Supermodel” retains their signature sound of upbeat indietronica and unapologetic lyrics – this time more angsty than ever.
According to Billboard, Foster said he wanted to bring forth the social issues that come with capitalistic greed. He rocks it well, maintaining angry, biting lyrics and animalistic imagery well veiled by the dance-y synth-music playing in the foreground.
In the song “A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon,” Foster sums up the album’s theme of sticking it to The Man with the line “we’ve changed the dreamers and the preachers and the wise men on the hill – to concrete stepping smilers terrified to lose their power and control.” If you’re not in the mood for tortured souls, tune in anyway because the catchy tunes definitely distract from the heated lyrics.
However, Foster strips down (instrument-wise, ladies) for the tracks “Goats in Trees” and “Fire Escape.” In these tracks, he sticks to bare-bone guitar and real voice, with no synths to divert from the fact that he has a wonderful tone and crazy vocal range.
In truth, “Torches” was a much stronger album, though “Supermodel” was far from a sophomore slump. It is a promising record, though it’s disappointing that not a single song was particularly memorable. You will definitely be dancing along with every track, but no particular one will be stuck in your head later.
To be fair, the sexy West African influence in the song “Are You What You Want to Be?” rightfully spearheads the album as the most magnetic track of the bunch.
“Supermodel” is certainly a genre-specific album and might not be your cup of tea. It definitely is an acquired taste, which might take more than one listen to be fully appreciated. Although the songs tend to blur together if you’re not looking at the track listing, they’re smooth enough for that not to matter.
You can catch Foster the People at the Big Guava Festival in Tampa from May 2-4. For more information, go to fosterthepeople.com. “Supermodel” is available now on iTunes.