Review: Foster the People – Supermodel (2014)

By Ryan G

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Every year there’s that one band that appears out of nowhere, has a huge hit, sells out large rooms internationally, and then goes quiet for awhile. In 2011, that band was Foster The People, and the hit was of course “Pumped Up Kicks.” As nearly three years rolled by, you could almost sense the millions of fans murmuring questions about the return of Foster the People. Would they come back, and would the album be worth the wait?

If you just wanted to know the answer to the previous sentence, you can stop reading after the next sentence. The answer is yes, the band has returned in a blaze of glory.

Supermodel isn’t as immediately catchy as Torches, but it shows a remarkable progression over the hiatus that shows that while FTP ceased action in the public eye, they merely transferred their energy into diligently writing an even better album than before. They didn’t take mediocrity for an answer on any track. The small amount of negativity received upon the release of first single “Coming of Age” was surely due to the hook that was more subtle than the arena ready radio singles of Torches.

Certain trademark FTP traits remain. The simple, high energy yet upper-mid-tempo drumming. The ever present synth. The vaguely tribal ambiance. And of course, Mark Foster’s slightly nasal, higher pitched yet irresistible vocals. As I began to play the opening track “Are You Who You Want to Be?” on vacation a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t help but take notice of just how perfect the song and the rest of the record fit the South Floridian environment I found myself in. A second listen of “Coming of Age” sealed that deal. Mysterious vibes abound in the cool “A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon” – I just love that title! Another song with a great title, “Pseudologica Fantastica” is indeed fantastic – it has one of my favorite melodies on the album.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBqzrj18S2w&h=297&w=450]

Foster the People goes soft on two tracks – a move that may surprise some. However, Foster’s voice is versatile enough to adjust accordingly to both – especially album closer “Fire Escape” (not to be confused with the Civil Twilight hit of the same name).

Supermodel is one of the best releases of 2014 thus far. As I sit here in my house on this gray late March Ohio evening, I implore the spring/summer weather to hurry up and get here so I can blast this album proudly with the windows of my Jetta TDI rolled down.

Score: 4.5/5

Foster the People: Facebook page | Purchase the album on iTunes

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