If Foal's debut Antidotes could be accused of being 'emotively lacking', that claim is most irrelevant for their followup, which if anything is overflowing with the substance. It can be defined as a matured sequel if you will, but simply toning down Yannis' bark and pace alone can't be solely definitive of that term. The fact is Total Life Forever is the near perfect example of the definition of confident exploration of artisans stuck within a self-dug hole. And while most will be unable to escape from it, Foals have taken their former 'dance-floor orientated/mathematically formulated' label and torn it right off.
What their followup to Antidotes show is Foals' musicial abilities prioritising above to the usual image driven Indie tosh and confidently rise above it, and resulting in being actual credible songwriters, which they seem so desperate in proving but ultimately falling short before.
From the opening track, Foals have interwoven different surprises and turns that sound deceivingly fresh to the ear, while retaining the singalong approach that can entertain both to the inattentive dancers, and also to their avid listening fanbase. It's not the instantly impactful album that the previous title could muster, but in the long term outlook this is without argument the much superior.
Increasing frequency of playbacks of the album will reward the listener to a more satisfying experience, and it could be a deliberate, if not clever motive by Foals. They want to prove they're not a temporary fad like so many of their forgotten contemporaries already are, and by the evidence of their latest effort, by god they could have just have done it.