Foster the People | Pumped Up Kicks 12″
Most Likely To: rethink your choice of footwear around that weird emo kid in 6th period Econ.
Okay, so I admit to being hip to this band. The first time I heard “Pumped Up Kicks,” the chorus stayed with me like my sister’s dying words (“It was your brother.”) . Now we have their debut EP, consisting of two tracks and 2 remixes of “Pumped.”
The record will clearly state that I am not a fan of vocal trickery. Most times it’s just a studio cop out by such ‘vocalists’ as Kanye West and Owl City (shame on me for even bringing them up.) This is a case of the exception to the rule. Singer Mark Foster’s megaphone-like delivery during the verses is not grating as such the effect usually renders a vocal. I haven’t seen anything as catchy as the chorus since we had to drain the Donnybrook grotto (long story). Quite honestly, if you don’t find the chorus catchy as hell, later tests will in fact reveal you to be retarded. Don’t send your hate mail to me, send it to the doctors. This song also contains a pretty spiffy whistling segment, which is the best whistling since… um… since… “Patience” by Guns N Roses?
While the song has a laid back, pop kind of feel, any time spent on the lyrics will reveal the track to be quite dark. In the first few lines we hear how this kid finds a gun in his dad’s closet. (Really, we’re still hiding guns in closets? How cliche, Dad–it’s like your asking for trouble.) While the chorus is catchy, it also advises all the kids with “pumped up kicks”: “You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet.”
It leaves this reviewer to surmise the main character is going to take out all the kids who can afford pumped up kicks. You gotta love songs that appear to be one thing, but evolve into another after further review (you guys ever read the lyrics to “Lola”?).
The two following remixes are relatively standard–just vocal and just instrumental mixes with nothing to make them markedly drastic than the original. They are nice things to have, but not really necessary unless you want to sing this at karaoke night.
“Chin Music For the Unsuspecting Hero” reminds me of blue eyed soul, relying on piano for a plodding, mid-tempo pacing. However, the vocal soars during the chorus, giving it a summer-y vibe. The song acts as a nice contrast to “Pumped;” they are not very similar, which shows there might be some real depth to the band. Whereas “Pumped” skims along through layered vocals and a certain machine-like sheen, “Chin” has a more earthy, band feel. Both songs show these guys know how to weave a melody far better than the dreck which is commercial radio these days.
In terms of their biography, not much is known or at least reliable for me to pass on to you. They have all the earmarks of a “buzz band”; the song’s made the rounds on the ‘Net and they did some SXSW shows. Their site is much like the women I’m dating: rather empty and lacking any real insight. Outside of that, I could have probably run these guys over and not known it.
Not that I’ve run anyone over. Lately.
These two tracks leave me enthused and encouraged to see how Foster the People develop.
Listen to “Pumped Up Kicks” from Foster the People: