• Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Jun 15, 2010
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Dec 21, 2010
    91
    TLF is a bid to be less in your face than in your head, and while its effect is less immediate, it's a comedown that's way more fun than the party.
  2. In broadening their horizons they've not sacrificed quality, every note and sound is perfectly executed. Foals have made impressive strides forward, and you'd be mad not to follow them.
  3. It may not be an especially immediate album, and is definitely not one which can be listened to as background music for fifty minutes, but its slow-burning qualities turn what initially may seem a little messy, into a satisfyingly cohesive release.
  4. It's the ambiguity of styles, the insistence on bringing the listener along for a journey, that makes Total Life Forever such an endlessly interesting statement.
  5. Total Life Forever's break with the past is astutely judged, the execution is even better.
  6. Total Life Forever is a massive leap forward for the band. The music writhes with a renewed ambition, capable of moving from near ambient strains of electronica to propulsive African funk in a drum break.
  7. It takes half a dozen listens before the quality of it really sinks in, and is so all over the place that only the most devoted won't find it initially maddening. But throughout is a braveness and naive sense of wonder.
  8. Baffling yet hum-able at the same time, this is the work of a band without a clue where they're going, and it's all the stronger for it.
  9. There is stillness and hush here, and a depth of emotion they have never accessed before.
  10. Gone for the most part are the skittering disco-punk rhythms and fully engorged urgency that drove their material. Instead, you have a slower, more methodical approach that lets these pop gems blossom out in thin ribbons.
  11. Uncut
    80
    There are still big choruses here. But they now layer things deftly. [Jun 2010, p.86]
  12. They do make em' like this anymore.
  13. Mojo
    80
    Treacherous lapses notwithstanding, there's enough vim and invention here to suggest that Foals may yet prove themselves champion thoroughbreds. [June 2010, p. 96]
  14. Like its perfectly integrated packaging, Total Life Forever is successful because of attention paid to the things around it, a combination of direct influence and creative rigor that makes for a stirring experience.
  15. If this is their The Bends, it remains to be seen whether they can eventually produce another evolutionary leap on the orders of OK Computer and Kid A, but for the first time that kind of greatness doesn't seem out of the question for Foals.
  16. Total Life Forever is still thoroughly identifiable as a Foals album, their personality and songwriting quirks shine through even the thickest of creative haze--they're making pop out of art, which is a pretty good recipe for a young band.
  17. The band wisely retains the elements that worked the first time: intricate, jittery guitars, driving bass and creative rhythms, best displayed on the title track and Black Gold.
  18. Beautifully ethereal yet firmly rooted in careful dynamics, these distinct, late highlights should serve as a wake-up call suggesting that by blindly embracing pop structures, Foals are weighing appeal against integrity. The difference? Integrity lasts much longer.
  19. With Total Life Forever, Foals have objectively identified the shortcomings (shouted vocals, claustrophobic song structures) of their first album, and erased them while keeping their trademark mathematical riffing intact.
  20. At every turn, Total Life Forever is inviting. Much more alive than earlier efforts, it's an album with a complexion that constantly changes with time....[But] the album's second half doesn't fare so well, drowning at times in aqueous atmospherics.
  21. The shimmery guitars and thundering rhythms of album closer "What Remains" show that the group does best when sticking to its own math rock genre
  22. It's not got the immediate clout of Antidotes; and it's not one to spin when prepping for a party (it's actually kind of a downer, apart from 'Miami', which kills). But if you work with it, something really ghostly happens.
  23. As a whole, 'Total Life Forever' may feel too self-consciously clever to really convince but Foals evidently have a brilliant career ahead of them and this could be its crucial cornerstone.
  24. Where some see restraint, others may very well see refinement, and those who appreciated Antidotes' more spacy passages will find that Foals' reinvention of their sound is a calculated risk that definitely pays off.
  25. The songs are rich with relentless, complex instrumentation, the smooth, ethereal voice of Yannis Philippakas, and dubious lyrics about life.
  26. Under The Radar
    60
    Fortunately, when grooves meander and sometimes gets a bit ponderous, the band's creative instincts usually kick in to right the ship. [Summer 2010, p.83]
  27. All in all, though, Total Life Forever is a slightly more assured record from Foals; this time out they sound like they've taken complete ownership of their music.
  28. Q Magazine
    60
    While this album carries more instrumental and emotional heft than its predecessor, something remains off-balance. [Jun 2010, p.130]
  29. At its core, Total Life Forever is a good dance record: something you could leave on at a party and not stop moving to until its full 50 minutes have finished. But as much as it tries to run away from that, it isn't a whole lot else.
  30. Foals' major label debut, Total Life Forever, keeps those elements intact, most notably on the title track and in the calculated urgency and cold sweat of "After Glow," but the band has redesigned the template to include a more expansive pop approach evinced by sprawling centerpiece "Spanish Sahara."
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 107 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 96 out of 107
  2. Negative: 4 out of 107
  1. Jun 12, 2012
    8
    A huge change for the band, not bad at all. First half of the album it's really great, but the second half, the album slows down and gets moreA huge change for the band, not bad at all. First half of the album it's really great, but the second half, the album slows down and gets more sentimentalist. Just "After Glow"(maybe the best song) gives power to this part. Overall, it shouldn't be taken as a big mistake of the band... Full Review »
  2. Sep 14, 2011
    10
    I love this record, a lot. I love the aquatic sound, how every guitar strum sounds like an echo underwater. I love the melodies and the lyricsI love this record, a lot. I love the aquatic sound, how every guitar strum sounds like an echo underwater. I love the melodies and the lyrics and the whole kit and caboodle. Full Review »
  3. Feb 19, 2011
    9
    Brilliant record. Some genuinely euphoric moments- the climaxes of Blue Blood, After Glow, Spanish Sahara- the comedowns in 2 Trees and BlackBrilliant record. Some genuinely euphoric moments- the climaxes of Blue Blood, After Glow, Spanish Sahara- the comedowns in 2 Trees and Black Gold. An emotionally powerful tour de force. My favourite record of 2010 without a doubt. Full Review »