With ENSWBL: Part 2, Foals have pushed through to a place of greater artistic expression. It is similar to Part 1 in its dreamy indie rock aesthetic but is more energetic and aggressive. This entry and its precursor definitely feel very thematically complete compared to Foals’ earlier albums, with Part 1 embodying life with its light rock beats and use of symphonics, whilst Part 2 represents death with its hard-hitting, heavily-distorted instruments and use of piano. And that artwork, well it’s quite something to look at, and shows two sides of the themes explored in the two-part piece.
The intro song ‘Red Desert’ explodes into symphony and leaves little room for build-up, giving a glimpse of what this album entails and having an amazing transition into ‘The Runner’, which is an explosive, fast-tempo song with harmonious backing vocals and a catchy chorus.
The tempo slows down for ‘Wash Off’, but the hook is simple and builds up to a multi-instrumental chorus with a second use of harmonious backing vocals to create that dreamy aesthetic. This continues with ‘Black Bull’ as we see another interesting bass riff set alongside distorted vocals to give the song a hard-rock feel. ‘Like Lightning’ is equally as bass-driven and forceful, with a punchy chorus and large arena-rock-style presence.
From this point, the album develops into a lower-aggression state, with ‘Dreaming Of’ sounding more like the typical indie Foals sound. ‘Into the Surf’ and ‘Neptune’ are high-points in the album however and work really well to end the album off with their oppressive, haunting tones and use of piano and percussive instruments. Their lyrics are also exceptional, which is not untrue of the album overall.
As a complete package, this two-part album is definitely Foals’ most well-realised work.