Logo for Byte Magazine at Ball State University

Foster the People dominate Indie sound in ‘In the Darkest of Nights, Let the Birds Sing’

By Conner Tighe Three years ago, Foster the People carried their amazing dark vibes with Sacred Hearts Club. The band’s latest EP, In the Darkest of Nights, Let the Birds Sing, bestows its audience with another monument of sound the band is known for. After a first listen through, the album presents mediocre qualities but gets better after another run through. However, the band’s fourth EP doesn’t stand out from previous works like Torches, Supermodel, or Sacred Hearts Club.  In 2010, Foster the People released their first hit, “Pumped Up Kicks.” The band started with lead vocalist Mark Foster, bass guitarist Jacob Fink, drummer Mark Pontius, and pianist Danyew but picked up guitarist Sean Cimino and pianist Isom Innis in 2017. Sacred Hearts Club, released in 2017, was the first album to feature Cimino and Innis, coincidentally being the band’s best album. In the Darkest of Nights, Let the Birds Sing is the first EP featuring the two members, and the tradition continues with a peculiar stylistic technique and glorious sound. The band is slower in tempo this time around while maintaining the familiar Indie sound, but less focused on themselves and more focused on love.

Other inspirations

There is a range of influences throughout this EP: The Smiths, The Beach Boys, and The Neighborhood—as arbitrary as it may sound—can be heard underneath some songs’ layers. “Walk with a Big Stick” is undeniably a 60s influence with harmonized vocals coming in and out. “The Things We Do” will immediately trigger 70s vibes with its keyboard and voice manipulation for exaggerated vocals, and it’s perfect. “Under the Moon” is dull and edgy sounding. The Smiths have a way with their voice that sounds drawn out and rough, almost unexplainable, but it’s present in the whole EP. Foster the People established their unique vocals long ago, and again with this EP, listeners are presented with freedom and artistry. It’s challenging to stand out in the music industry today with many artists sounding similar no matter what genre, but Foster the People are not afraid to stick with their guns.
“Kiss me a little/Kiss me before you roar/I'm yours, forever yours/And you are mine to take tonight”
The idea of having older bands popping up here and there in the EP goes back to what Foster the People and this EP is all about. The band has always been strange in their performances—not a bad quality, but unique—and all musicians take inspiration from somewhere. For example, In the Darkest of Nights, Let the Birds Sing is a shout out to other bands in a similar genre and presents this unity message within the music industry. Yes, the same music and tone are present here, but there’s also proof of cohesion and an established sound.
“Under the moon I cry/Waiting in the whisper of your name”

Under the moon in a Cadillac

EP four is the simplest of all collections presented by Foster the People, but here, that’s not a terrible thing. That same impression from Sacred Hearts Club persists with unified vocals and an indescribable Indie sound. Foster the People has always taken love (“I Would Do Anything for You”) or something more serious like school shootings (“Pumped Up Kicks”) and put an Indie spin to it. In the Darkest of Nights, Let the Birds Sing has Foster presenting his unique and talented vocals to the subject of love again, but here it’s plain weird and fun. The band presents a scenario of a man in love with a woman and waiting on her love in return. Every track in the EP either talks about the man’s qualities and compatibility with the woman or reflects on the good times with this woman. It’s vulnerable and sweet in the message but directs its audience away from crazier times with the band. Sacred Hearts Club and Supermodel, for example, focused on the craziness of life and youth, and the band may be moving away from this appeal. Painting an eerie picture either as fun or as something more sinister is an ability  Foster the People can accomplish. Foster calls his girl a “queen” and wishes to present her with a palace. “Under the Moon” and “Cadillac” set the mood correctly in the eyes of Foster.

Top tracks:

Walk with a Big Stick Lamb’s Wool The Things We do

Recommended if you like:

MGMT Cage the Elephant Arctic Monkeys
Featured Image: Genius Sources: Top40-Charts