Back in the early summer of 2011, Pumped Up Kicks entered my consciousness. Easily the stand out track of that particular year, there was so much to love about this song from the undeniably brilliant bass line to the funk sound and catchy lyrics. It would be widely lauded by critics and music fans alike, and would successfully build a sense of anticipation around any further releases by the American band behind it, Foster The People.
It also meant that a huge level of anticipation and hype began to develop around what the debut album by the band would bring. Having actually released Pumped Up Kicks back in 2010, it only really began to reach people’s ears the following year and this meant that the band were able to release their debut LP at a time of peak momentum and public awareness. As a result of this, Torches, which was released in May 2011, was a massive commercial success for the band and was well received by fans and critics.
Torches was everything that fans had wanted after hearing Pumped Up Kicks, and it was easily one of my favourite albums of the year. A collection of eleven expertly crafted songs that were designed to make people dance and enjoy themselves.
The album opened with the what would be the second single from the band, Helena Beat, which would continue the trend that was set with Pumped Up Kicks of a sonically interesting and funky tune. The song had a more aggressive sound than before and the catchy chorus made it the perfect song to open an album with. This song would be followed by Pumped Up Kicks and would mark an outstanding open to the record.
The sense of momentum would be continued with what I still think is the standout song on the album, the magnificent Call It What You Want. This song would go on to feature on the soundtrack for the FIFA 2012 video game, and remains one of the songs from this album that I constantly revisit.
After this very strong beginning, the album continues at pace to churn out songs that could have been singles, and many of them would go on to be with Don’t Stop (Colour on the Walls) and Houdini eventually being released in 2012.
But it is two of the other songs that catch my attention the most and those are Life on the Nickel and I Would Do Anything For You. Another two songs that helped to demonstrate the ability of the band to write interesting and clever pop songs.
Torches managed to do what can often be one of the most challenging feats for a musician, to back up an outstanding lead single with an album worthy of it. This LP would successfully inject the Los Angeles three-piece into the mainstream music scene globally, and it is still an album that stands the test of time.