What Went Down
So this is what happens when one-hit wonders attempt to parlay their windfall into a career.
Los Angeles’s Foster The People arrived with a bang three years ago with Pumped Up Kicks, a cleverly infectious starburst of MGMT-style electro-indie that dominated radio airwaves and hit big on both sides of the Atlantic. Their subsequent debut album, Torches, yielded no comparable gleaming nuggets.
Now they return with a second effort, Supermodel, which is slick, proficient and utterly inconsequential. A testimony to their singer and songwriter Mark Foster’s previous day job as a composer of advertising jingles, it sets toes tapping while remaining resolutely lightweight and insincere.
This failing is all the more glaring as they make continued stabs at appearing profound. The opening track labours under the weighty title of Are You What You Want To Be? Amid perky New Order guitars, the following Ask Yourself boasts a chorus of “Is this the life you’ve been waiting for?” Yet their faux-soul searching merely sounds like small talk.
Jaunty electro-pop ditties like Nevermind and Best Friend are AM drivetime radio fodder that you forget even as you listen to them. Pseudologia Fantasia may appeal to anybody who finds Maroon 5 too edgy and difficult. When Foster chirps, “I’ve got nothing to say” on Coming Of Age, it’s terribly hard to argue.