The thing that made Foster the People’s debut, “Torches” so great six years ago was that we’d never heard anything quite like it. They were organic but they used synthesizers. They were like Beck meets Moby with alternative music undertones from the 90s. They were awesome. The difference between “Torches” and “Sacred Hearts Club” is noticeable. It’s noticeable from a grown/evolution standpoint, they’ve gotten better at some things. But the other difference is that any organic sound that the band used to have seems to be almost gone. They’re far more focused on beats and synths than they used to be. And on this album, they’re way more worried about writing hooks and catchy choruses than they probably ever have been.
The front of this album feels like a weird mashup between Foster the People and the Teddybears or some kind of beat manufacturer from the 2000s. It’s odd, but sometimes fun. The start of “Pay the Man” pulls you in and the odd verse that runs in the chorus is enough to get and keep your attention. “Doing It for The Money” is a great track even if it is about as beat-heavy as an alternative song can get away with. “SHC” and “I Love My Friends” are more reminiscent of older Foster the People stuff due to lyrics and melody and they’re somewhat enjoyable because of it. “Static Space Lover” is the atmospheric pop highlight of the record. It’s clearly the best song on the album. “III” is a nice sendoff to the record and a fun cool down moment for the hour of pop that you’ve just listened through.
“Sacred Hearts Club” is a very odd, but sometimes good, set from Foster the People. It’s not going to replace “Torches” as a favorite of anybody but there are songs here that have a lot of merit to them. There’s a lot to like here, even if the potential that these guys have probably isn’t met with this record.