Foster The People helped shift the musical landscape in 2011 with their debut album for Columbia, Torches. Since that album there have been a few groups directly influenced by Foster The People and Torches, but really that album allowed groups with an electronic element to become popular. If Foster The People didn't become popular, bands like Imagine Dragons and Awolnation would have still become successful, but they wouldn't have gone into the top 40 scene. Now, Mark Foster and his group are following-up Torches with a new album, Supermodel.
Supermodel isn't nearly as impactful as Torches, that has to be said right away. People aren't copying Foster The People, but with all of the electronic elements in alternative music right now, people are using a lot of the same sounds. So basically, sonically - Supermodel isn't anything new. Foster's singing the same way - sometimes in that high-pitched odd voice/sometimes in his just normal voice. The difference between Torches and Super Model is that Foster is getting a little more ambitious in his song writing. There's not a set formula for any song with this album that resembles a pop song and there's nothing like anything that was on the last record. This Foster The People LP has the band taking the audience that they gathered with the last record out of their element. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the songs are extremely mellow like an album track from Coldplay, only with their own style. Sometimes FTP let's their freak flag fly and showcases some psychedelic elements on this album. It's when they do that when they hit their sweet spot on. When they're anything close to traditional on this record, it just seems kind of boring.
Foster the People's new record isn't as good as Torches, but that was an introduction to a group, so we can't really hold that against them. Still, Supermodel is such a different record for anybody right now. It doesn't feel like an album with a collection of singles and it doesn't feel like a full-fledged album experience either. Supermodel is at it's best moments when it's being comfortable in the spaces between normal music. It's at it's worst when it's in limbo between a good hook and a droning verse. This isn't a bad record, but it will take a few listens to wrap your head around and appreciate it.