Foster the People, ‘Helena Beat’ Brings ‘60s Psych – Song Review

2011-11-16

Review by Anne Erickson

Foster the People’s new single brings electro-lite, hypnotic disco flourishes

Los Angeles-based alternative rock trio Foster the People have caught fire with their catchy single, “Pumped Up Kicks.” While the song’s musical style is happy-go-lucky, the lyrics paint a darker story of school bullying, and that juxtaposition seems the perfect combo, as the track reached No. 1 on the alternative rock chart. Now, the indie guys are back with their follow-up single, “Helena Beat,” off the band’s debut full-length, Torches, and the track brings more feel-good beats and melodies.

“Helena Beat” starts off with psychedelic, swirling guitars and catchy, dance-oriented pop beats, packaging Foster the People’s characteristic atmospheres and ‘60s psych pop style. Mark Foster’s falsetto really establishes the band’s sound; his scaling, airy vocals sound nothing like any other vocalist out there at the moment. His lyrics fit well next to Foster the People’s electro-lite, hypnotic disco flourishes, as he sings, “Sometimes life it takes you by the hair / Pulls you down before you know it, it’s gone / And you’re dead again / I’ve been places and I won’t pretend / Yeah I’d make it out just to fall on my head.”

The song continues with proto-electro punk art noise and the satirical, pop-friendly sound of MGMT and Phoenix, as Foster exclaims, “Yeah yeah and it’s okay / I tie my hands up to a chair so I don’t fall that way / Yeah yeah and I’m alright / I took a sip of something poison but I’ll hold on tight / rew into an eclectic, brainy pop group with psychedelic overtones.”

Swelling with a warm passion, “Helena Beat” is a shining example of melodic dance-pop gone right, especially during the musical breakdown in the bridge. Following the aforementioned “Pumped Up Kicks,” Foster has another hit on their ears. More: Ever wonder what those dark lyrics in “Pumped Up Kicks” are really about? Find out, straight from Mr. Foster, and the answer is a bit surprising. (Featured image: Foster the People via Facebook.)

 




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