Holy Fire (album)

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Holy Fire
Holy Fire Foals.jpg
Studio album by
Released11 February 2013 (2013-02-11)
StudioAssault & Battery Studios
(London, United Kingdom)
Foals chronology
Total Life Forever
Holy Fire
What Went Down
Singles from Holy Fire
  1. "Inhaler"
    Released: 5 November 2012
  2. "My Number"
    Released: 17 December 2012
  3. "Late Night"
    Released: 22 April 2013
  4. "Bad Habit"
    Released: 17 June 2013
  5. "Out of the Woods"
    Released: 28 October 2013

Holy Fire is the third studio album by British rock band Foals, released on 11 February 2013 in the United Kingdom on Transgressive Records.[1] The first single "Inhaler" first aired on 5 November 2012 on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show, with the music video being released later that same day.[2] The second single "My Number" debuted on Later... with Jools Holland on 13 November 2012.[3] The track had its radio debut one month later, also on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show. The music video premiered on 23 January 2013.

The album managed to chart at number two on the UK Albums Chart in the UK and charted across the world including the number one spot on the Australian Albums Chart in Australia and number 86 on the Billboard 200 in the US.[4] The album also received favourable reviews and was nominated for the 2013 Mercury Prize for best album.[5]

Recording and music[edit]

The band started demoing in early 2011 in Sydney, Australia with Jono Ma from the Lost Valentinos as the producer. Ma had already worked with the band in the past in the form of remix work.[6] Keyboardist Edwin Congreave would later admit that the band didn't accomplish much in terms of new songs during the recording sessions in Sydney, however he stated "[i]t wasn't like wasted, it was kind of disappointing. [Jono Ma]'s got his fingers all over the place. He's opened our eyes to a lot of possibilities on the new record, synthesizers and drum machines that we haven't used before. It's given us a foundation to take our new record".[7]

Eventually, the band stockpiled various sound loops and samples, old synthesizers and drum machines for using on the recording of the album.[7]

After a few more demo and recording sessions throughout 2011 and 2012 in Oxford, the band went to record the album with production duo Flood and Alan Moulder and engineer CJ Marks at Assault & Battery Studios in Willesden, North West London.[8]

In August 2012, lead singer and guitarist Yannis Philippakis told NME that the new album would be "unashamedly funk", adding that "[t]here are some heavier moments and some dirtier moments. It's swampy, some of the grooves are quite stinky".[9]

The album artwork was designed by Leif Podhajsky, and the original photo is by Thomas Nebbia.[10]

Promotion and release[edit]

On 8 October 2012, the band announced a UK tour for November and December.[11] On 19 October, the band announced the name of the album via their official Facebook page.[12] One week later, a similar announcement revealed that the album would be released on 11 February 2013.

On 7 February 2013, the band played an exclusive NME Awards Show with an audience of 400 people, debuting new material.[13][14]

Holy Fire was released on 11 February 2013 in the United Kingdom. Besides being released on CD and as a digital download, the album was also released as a limited vinyl boxset which includes a 12-inch box with exclusive artwork with marble-coloured vinyl, a DVD and bonus CD featuring offcuts, loops and studio workings. The box set also includes six double-sided 12-inch sleeves including lyrics and exclusive artwork, a 24-inch poster, a digital download code and a limited 7" of the single "My Number".[15]

To coincide with the release of the album, the band embarked on a UK tour that ended with two shows at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 28 March 2013. Tickets sold out so quickly that the band decided to put on a matinee show. After this, the band spent a lot of time touring Holy Fire worldwide, including their first festival headline slot at "Latitude Festival" in Suffolk, UK. this was very successful and well praised, including positive attention from "Festival Republic" managing director "Melvin Benn" [14]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[17]
The A.V. ClubB+[18]
The Guardian4/5 stars[19]
The Independent3/5 stars[20]
Mojo3/5 stars[21]
Q4/5 stars[24]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[25]


Holy Fire holds an average rating of 76 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic, indicating "generally favourable reviews".[16] David Renshaw of NME praised it as "a record that bursts out of the speakers" and added that although the album is energetic, "it's the way that the album as a whole unravels and blooms through repeat listens that marks it as Foals' finest moment to date".[22] Drowned in Sound stated that "[n]ot only is Holy Fire utterly sublime, it's a record that's been six years in the making. A record where Foals have focussed their many triumphs and missteps into one cohesive statement".[27] Ian Cohen of Pitchfork called Holy Fire an "ambitious record, one that operates on an artistic economy of scale, where the lustrous production and singles like "My Number" and "Inhaler" do the heavy work of confirming Foals' headliner status".[23]

In a mixed assessment, Andy Gill of The Independent called Holy Fire "a one-sided album: following the soulful 'Late Night', things plummet badly in the second half".[20] Fact's John Calvert stated that "rather than some kind of righteous culmination, Holy Fire is by some way Foals' least interesting record".[28]


The album debuted at No. 2 in the United Kingdom, which is the highest chart position by the Foals thus far.[29] In the United States, the album debuted at No. 86 on Billboard 200,[30] and No. 23 on Top Rock Albums,[31] selling 6,000 copies in its first week. The album has sold 41,000 copies in the United States as of August 2015.[32]

The lead single "Inhaler" peaked at No. 20 on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart, making it the first time any of the band's singles appeared on American charts. "My Number" peaked at No. 34 on Belgium's Ultratip charts and at No. 83 on Netherlands' Mega Single Top 100.[33]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Foals.

3."My Number"4:03
4."Bad Habit"4:40
6."Late Night"5:27
7."Out of the Woods"3:25
8."Milk & Black Spiders"5:17



  • Yannis Philippakis – vocals, guitar
  • Jimmy Smith – guitar
  • Walter Gervers – bass, backing vocals
  • Edwin Congreave – keyboards, backing vocals
  • Jack Bevan – drums

Additional musicians[edit]


  • Hugh Brunt - conducting and string arrangements (2, 3, 6, 8, 10 and 11)

Album Artwork[edit]

  • Leif Podhajsky – design and art direction
  • Thomas Nebbia – photography

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[35] 1
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[36] 39
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[37] 25
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[38] 38
French Albums (SNEP)[39] 22
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[40] 41
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[41] 31
Irish Albums (IRMA)[42] 7
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[43] 15
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[44] 72
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[45] 15
UK Albums (OCC)[46] 2
US Billboard 200[47] 86


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  2. ^ "Foals premiere 'Inhaler' video on NME – watch". NME. IPC Media. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Foals debut new track 'My Number' on 'Later... With Jools Holland' - watch | News". Nme.Com. 2012-11-14. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  4. ^ "Watch: Foals Tweak the Live Performance Video Formula With the Video for "My Number" | News". Pitchfork. 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  5. ^ "2013 Shortlist - Barclaycard Mercury Prize". Mercury Prize. Mercury Prize. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
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  10. ^ http://leifpodhajsky.com/FOALS-HOLY-FIRE
  11. ^ "Foals announce UK tour for November and December | News". Nme.Com. 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  12. ^ "Foals name new album 'Holy Fire' | News". Nme.Com. 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  13. ^ "Foals to play exclusive NME Awards Show for 400 fans | News". Nme.Com. 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
  14. ^ a b "Foals play new material at intimate NME Awards show | News". Nme.Com. 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
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  18. ^ Schild, Matt (12 February 2013). "Foals: Holy Fire". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  19. ^ Hann, Michael (7 February 2013). "Foals: Holy Fire – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  20. ^ a b Gill, Andy (8 February 2013). "Album review: Foals, Holy Fire (Transgressive)". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  21. ^ "Foals: Holy Fire". Mojo (232): 94. March 2013.
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  23. ^ a b Cohen, Ian (12 February 2013). "Foals: Holy Fire". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  24. ^ "Foals: Holy Fire". Q (320): 100. March 2013.
  25. ^ Dolan, Jon (25 February 2013). "Holy Fire". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  26. ^ Kamps, Garrett (13 February 2013). "Foals, 'Holy Fire' (Warner Bros.)". Spin. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  27. ^ Leedham, Robert (11 February 2013). "Album Review: Foals – Holy Fire". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  28. ^ Calvert, John (8 February 2013). "Holy Fire". Fact. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
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  30. ^ "Billboard 200: March 2, 2013". Billboard.
  31. ^ "Top Rock Albums: March 2, 2013". Billboard.
  32. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on August 19, 2015.
  33. ^ "Foals - My Number". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
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