Review: Foster The People – ‘Pumped Up Kicks’

PumpedUpKicksFoster The People are the latest hotly tipped success story to spill out of California and on to the summer festival circuit.

With a top 50 placing on Australia’s annual prestigious Triple J Hottest 100, and a second year running tear away performance at SXSW festival, Foster The People seems well on its way to needing no plan B – which is not bad going, seeing as the band formed as recently as October 2009.

Pumped Up Kicks‘ is the first single from the Los Angeles based three piece, which employs an array of extra musicians for live shows. The track first debuted on YouTube in February 2010, and soon went viral following rapid international recognition. Columbia Records picked up on the ever widening interest in the band’s danceable pop allure, and signed them on the strength of a three track EP in 2010. Frequent and praising comparisons to MGMT and Passion Pit have become a staple part of the conversation in online discussion forums, and ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ makes it easy to see why.

The bass line runs throughout and is an attractive mix of acoustic strings with a slight electronic resonance. The bass line is second only to the chorus vocals for instant hum-along-ability, and a skillful song structure ensures a keen progression through the layers of the piece without ever overstepping the mark of flogging the basic themes to death. The lyrics give a dark commentary to the inner workings of a troubled teenage mind, and build to an addictive repeat chorus ending, with an accompaniment of whistling that anybody who can put their lips together and blow will be joining in with before they know what’s hit them.

Foster The People know how to produce familiar lighthearted tunes with a modern twist and a liberal dollop of summer time abandon. Savvy indie pop doesn’t come much sharper than this.

(Ben Atherton)

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