Supermodel

by: Foster the People

Prior to the breakthrough viral success of their 2010 single, "Pumped Up Kicks," Los Angeles' Foster the People were a relatively unknown studio project for singer/songwriter Mark Foster. Four years, a full-length debut album (2011's Torches), numerous tours, and two Grammy nominations later, Foster the People are a tested live act with a strong, expectant fan base. The band's 2014 sophomore album, Supermodel, finds Foster and company sticking to their winning pop formula, while evincing a more organic, less claustrophobic studio sound. Produced by Foster, along with Paul Epworth (Adele, Bruno Mars, Florence + the Machine), Supermodel is full of infectious music that touches upon '80s-influenced dance-rock ("Coming of Age"), soulful psychedelia ("Pseudologia Fantastica"), and melodic acoustic rock ("Ask Yourself") in equal measure. Prior to "Pumped Up Kicks," Foster the People were pretty much a studio entity, and Supermodel does reveal a more live-sounding aesthetic that feels bigger and more Technicolor in approach than Torches. Epworth and Foster expand the group's sound with brassy horns, echo-chamber guitars, gigantic, circular drumbeats, shimmery synthesizers, and, in the case of "The Angelic Welcome of Mr. Jones," layered, Beach Boys-influenced group harmonies. Once again, Foster proves his knack for coming up with hummable pop hooks, and tracks like the funky "Best Friend" and Afro-pop-infused "Are You What You Want to Be?" stick in your ears as much as they get your feet tapping. Additionally, if Torches scratched the surface of twenty-something angst, then Supermodel takes that exploration a few steps deeper, revealing a more introspective, enigmatic, world-weary tone. On "Pseudologia Fantastica," Foster croons, "Faded and worn at the seams/A psychotropic wanderlust/Sick and laughing their words/Bared their teeth into the wall/I promised I'd rid this world of feral animals." ~ Matt Collar

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