Wild World: A Review
I still maintain that Dan Smith possesses one of the most addictive vocals ever pressed into vinyl; its appearance on a new Bastille album has been a long time coming. But hell, it’s worth the wait.
It’s been over three years since Bastille released their cataclysmic, multi-platinum, indie-pop debut Bad Blood (you’ll still find it running through my earphones while I walk wistfully along Smithdown Road in the rain,) but September 2016 marks the month the London four-piece returns with the equally alliterative, equally spellbinding Wild World.
Kicking off the track list is lead single Good Grief. It’s a bit new, it’s a bit classic, but it’s completely Bastille. The rewarding thing about this band is the excruciating attention to detail, from the seamlessly woven instrumental lines to the tiny introductory bass riff that makes you sit up and listen. It’s clear from this moment that Bastille are back, and back with a bang at that.
Once you’ve heard The Currents, you know the band’s distinctive cinematic sound is going to be reiterated and stretched across this record, sinking the listener into whatever world Bastille fancies. If Bad Blood was anxious, Wild World takes that anxiety-inducing albatross from Weight of Living and presses it under layer upon layer of carefully crafted art – more difficult to navigate, but oh so satisfying.
Track 4, Warmth, pulls the synths from the rest of the album along with it, creating a bouncy, driven number that’s got that underlying anxious edge – three dimensional and catchy stuff. Oh, and that ear-nagging bass kick idea pops up again, and it’s mint.
Two Evils pulls it back a bit. Arpeggic guitars sit beautifully alongside the ease of Dan Smith’s falsetto, navigating a minor melody that brings out a sweet vulnerability in this track. Numbers like Blame bring a beefier drive, with a new rockier attitude running through gutsy guitar riffs. Lethargy is far from lethargic, capturing the struggle of living in modern society and essentially creating a musical bubble that encapsulates that confusion well.
Frontman Dan has stated that “We wanted the album to be a bit disorientating – at times extroverted and introverted, light and dark.” It’s ambitious, but An Act of Kindness is one such track that creates this vibe well – it’s synthy, spacey, and slightly strange. A few tracks, for example infectious second single Send Them Off!, also feature spoken voice overs. Though unsure at first, upon completion of my album-through listen, I find that they bring yet another layer of vivid individuality to this release, and I can’t fault it. This album is visuals on vinyl.
Wild World is full of the catchy choruses we expect from Bastille, but taken up a notch in style, lyrics, and construction. Track 6, Power, ruthlessly reiterates ‘this room feels electric’, and that pretty much sums up this album – relentlessly electric from start to finish.
Wild World is released 9th September 2016.