Foster the People is best known for their deceptively dark 2011 hit “Pumped Up Kicks,” which, despite the song’s troubled protagonist, propelled the Los Angeles-based band to huge commercial success with its hauntingly catchy hook. With subsequent hits like “Helena Beat” and “Coming of Age,” off their second album Supermodel, the band proved themselves to be much more than just a one-hit wonder. Now, with their recently released third album Sacred Hearts Club, the indie pop sensation, consisting of lead vocalist and magnetic front man Mark Foster, lead guitarist Sean Cimino, keyboardist Isom Innis, and drummer Mark Pontius, is once again tapping into what it’s like to be a misfit.
“The Sacred Hearts Club is a group of people who celebrate life and aren’t afraid to exist outside of societal norms,” says keyboardist Isom Innis prior to the band’s electrifying performance at Lollapalooza. “We took our time to get it right. We’ve been working on it for the better part of three years,” he says of the album, which the band ended up mixing five times.
“We thought we finished it but we were listening to it together and we all had an uneasy feeling,” drummer Mark Pontius explains. “[lead singer Mark] Foster was the first to speak up and say, ‘Guys, it’s not done yet,’ which was hard to hear. We went back in and shortened a lot of the arrangements, sequenced it all to let it flow as one and really did some surgery. The hard work paid off; with a psychedelic vibe and spirited tracks like “Pay the Man” and “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy,” front man Foster truly shines.
When prompted to describe the band’s distinct sound, Innis almost immediately responds, “Primal energy of the Sex Pistols, the melodic sense of the Beach Boys and the avant-garde textures of Krautrock.” When I ask what we can expect from a Foster the People performance, Innis says, “Leather pants and poisonous snakes on the stage, just to make things a little more interesting.” The band’s energetic Lollapalooza set a few hours later may have been snake-free, but as a fellow concert-goer put it, it was “the happiest concert in the world,” with Foster in command.
You can catch Foster the People live at Bumbershoot in Seattle, Washington and The Meadows Music and Arts Festival in New York later this year.