Monday, 14 September 2009
Hayden Thorpe's sonically unorthodox arrangement of Kendal based musicians branded under the pseudonym of Wild Beasts have been making music for 8 years now, and after 8 years and two albums of writing and perfecting, they've finally struck gold with Septembers 2009's Two Dancers. Last years' Domino release 'Limbo, Panto' was patchy at best, despite gaining the band recognition via support slots with Foals and a generally good critical reception.
Wild Beasts make music which appears not just independent from a record label, but also musically quite distinct from anything else on the market. Whilst shops, reviewers and magazines may have reluctantly lumped them into the British indie rock/experimental genres, their new album is diverse enough to be relatively unclassifiable by anyones' standards. It would certainly be a shock to us all if the name Wild Beasts didn't in fact come from the literal french of Les Fauves - an influential group of boundary pushing French painters, taking fully into consideration the life and musical motto of 'whatever you do will be understood in time' which Wild Beasts inform us they hold so close.
I could take you through this album in any number of ways; track by track, mood by mood or even arrangement by arrangement, but instead of this i'm going to do it with an attempt at some sort of reference to the style of each section of the album. Wild Beasts are certainly not a band like Friendly Fires - who while consistently churning out top quality material, fall into the trap of releasing deja-vu dancefloor fillers, even though for most they would slot conveniently next to each other on a genre defining record store shelf. Instead Wild Beasts are a band which pushes boundaries of what is expected with a fairly standard indie rock band arrangement.
First track All The Kings Men opens the album by showing off Thorpes' screeching falsetto. A rough rallying cry rattles over the calypso beats of the drums and the reverb draped strum progressions. Another musical highlight, in fact perhaps the album highlight is lead single 'Hooting & Howling' , which whilst starting off with an aimless howl and direction-lacking bassline, comes together with a 'kick-yourself' simple riff and airy piano, to execute one of the finest pieces of music this year.
Their songs often verge on semi-ambient, and synthesized expanses make frequent appearances behind sharper sounding guitar and piano lines. Hayden Thorpe howls are similarly well-frequented, unpredictable enough in structure to warrant comparisons to the Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth, despite obvious differences in tonality. This Is Our Lot, the bands 'rock' is their fall back track and its time signatures, dominant percussion and semi-orchestral backing come together beautifully and unconventionally. It is the tracks around this where a clear Foals influence in the synthesizers shines through.
The band are touring the nation to support this fantatic album through October, before jetting off around Europe for some far more exciting shows abroad in November.
Buy Two Dancers (Amazon)
Wild Beasts - Hooting & Howling (MP3) (taken from Two Dancers)
Wild Beasts - The Funpowder Plot (MP3) (taken from Two Dancers)