Album Review: Bastille – Wild World

Bastille's Wild World

Bastille took the country by storm with the resounding “Pompeii” way back in 2013 after a slowly slowly catchy monkey approach of releasing a series of limited edition singles and EPs from the band’s formation in 2010 and then a whopping YouTube assaulting campaign where the track seemingly played before any video you tried to play for a whole fortnight. The plan worked, and probably would have worked for a lesser band with a lesser song, but luckily for Bastille, they actually had a gem of an indie pop track with “Pompeii” and on debut album “Bad Blood”, it was far from alone. “Laura Palmer”, “Things We Lost in the Fire” and “Flaws” all matched the brilliance. Also known for their clever mash ups, Bastille managed to take two 1990s dance classics and turn them into a #2 single with “Of the Night” and released a series of mixtapes during the time between albums proper.

But now they’re back with their second long player “Wild World” heralded by the fiendishly catchy single “Good Grief” which takes the current en vogue idea of making everything sound a bit 80s to its natural conclusion by actually sampling dialogue from a bona fide 80s classic movie “Weird Science”. It’s fresh but also reassuringly familiar and blindingly good.

“Warmth” is another upbeat slice of indie pop with fizzing synths and another striking vocal from lead singer Dan and gives the album its title with the line “hold me in this wild wild world”. It’s certain to be a future single. Another contender for release and a highlight of the album is the anthemic “Lethargy” which soars triumphantly, defying its name, yelling “you checked out years ago!” in the face of opposition and features some very nifty percussion.

These days it can be hard to track exactly what has been released as a single, as buzz track “Fake it” was released as a pre-order treat but “Send Them Off!” is actually being released as single #2 in October. The backing has discordant and synthy horns like something from a retro cop show or an early hop hop track and once mixed with more sampled vocals and another power chorus it becomes a force to be reckoned with.

“Glory” is an interesting mix of mournful low string notes and a playful pizzicato, part wistful romance, part disco floorfiller, a wonderful line Bastille have danced along throughout their immensely successful career. It all strips back midway and becomes even more emotive with Dan’s voice cracking into a heartbreaking falsetto. “Power” is another single in waiting, cutting a similar groove to “Glory”, yet that would do it a disservice as its balance between the maudlin and empowered spirit makes it a completely different beast.

Whilst the album is steadfastly Bastille-esque and the quality is high across all 14 tracks, there is a degree of variety which makes the album not at all one-note. “Blame” begins with some power guitar which at first seems a leftover from an aborted Bastille hair metal album, but reverts to the instant-classic Bastille mould soon enough, just in a heavier, rockier mode. Another genre-twist comes from “Snakes” which starts with a Motown/Northern Soul drum loop of sorts, paring everything back to just the vocals in a rousing gospel/soul style before resuming with some of the impressive drumming showcased on first album tracks like “Things We Lost in the Fire”.

Moodier tracks like “An Act of Kindness” are still well-crafted pop songs, with layered harmonies and instantly under your skin refrains whilst “Two Evils” is a dark stripped back ballad with bluesy tremolo effect like a Nancy Sinatra torch song. “Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith)” is a moment to catch your breath between the more dominating tracks and is downbeat and slightly hymnal, delving into the case famously covered by Truman Capote in his “In Cold Blood” work.

Album closer “Winter of Our Youth” would also work perfectly as a movie soundtrack closer too, with its highly satisfying mix of the euphoric, haunted, traditional and experimental summing up what we’ve heard beforehand and leaving you immensely keen for a sequel.

“Wild World” is available from Friday 9th September. The deluxe edition adds a further five tracks.

Check out Bastille on their website, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube channel.

Catch them live at the following venues:
11 Sept Bestival, Isle Of Wight
28 Oct BIC, Bournemouth
29 Oct Plymouth – Pavilions
31 Oct Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
1 Nov The O2, London
2 Nov The O2, London
4 Nov First Direct Arena, Leeds
5 Nov Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
6 Nov Arena, Manchester
8 Nov Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham
9 Nov SSE, Belfast
10 Nov 3Arena, Dublin
12 Nov The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
13 Nov Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

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