I-Tune Single of the Week Review: Foster the People’s ‘Helena Beat’

If Peter, Bjorn and John reared the love child of an M83 and Miike Snow ménage, it would be Foster The People. Foster the People nurture the public with a little help from iTunes and their free single “Helena Beat.”

“Helena Beat” opens their first studio album “Torches” released the same day as the iTunes free single with a brilliantly ambient energy. Despite its somewhat dark content, Mark Foster sings in an unavoidably infectious way, complete with hand claps and “Woo’s”. The track serves as a prologue to the popular previously released single off the album “Pumped Up Kicks.”

An excited kick drum rhythm followed by an ambient heartbeat interlude serves as introduction to a synth-pop melody. Foster wastes no time as he sings through the only two eight line versus. Though most of the song is chorus, there is no sacrifice of substance. The relatively new band depict intra-personal conflict with clarity and purpose with, “I tried to say that’s not the only way / I never knew if I could convince myself to change.”

Single and double hand claps, which rotate punctuation to each four count of Foster’s vocals, beg audience participation and improvised thigh-hand percussion. The second chorus queue’s a space odyssey jungle rhythm bridge that is fit for Daft Punk’s “TRON” soundtrack. A round of “Woo” chants allure the listener through the end of the track.

By the people, for the people, Foster the People. In 2009, as “Foster & the People” were gaining popularity, the public regularly mistook their name as “Foster the People.” They later adopted the name due to the evocative image of fostering the people.

It’s no surprise that the musical style of Peter, Bjorn and John, as well as Passion Pit, two indie and electro-pop giants are referenced throughout the track, as well as the album. StarTime, which began with one man and one band, is an offshoot of Columbia Records, and now represents all three and more. The success of the StarTime and their current roster of artists and bands, which include The Walkmen and The Futureheads, display both the direction of the music industry and the weight the “indie” genre wields over it.

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