Wednesday, May 4, 2011
stream Wild Beasts - Smother
I've always had a bit of a weird relationship with this band - ambitious, unique, flamboyant and pretty off-the-wall, they called to mind reference points like The Smiths and Suede, revelling in sexual ambiguity and innuendo while having a very interesting ye-olde-English vibe. The debut album Limbo, Panto featured two of the absolute best songs - no exaggeration - of the last few years: 'Devil's Crayon' and 'His Grinning Skull' still get played to death on my iPod and still sound absolutely amazing. The latter has a really haunting quality to it - I heard a rumour that it relates to a sexual abusive schoolmaster or something like that, but whatever the subject, it all sounds pretty sinister and oozes with melancholy. The rest of that album got pretty ridiculous in places though, with the more affected tracks not really coming off.
For the second LP Two Dancers they toned things down a fair bit, musically if not lyrically, but despite the undenable brilliance of 'All The King's Men' there was a feeling with many of the tracks that they were building up to something brilliant but never quite took off.
The new album, Smother, is now streaming over at The Guardian, and on first impressions they have really got the balance right this time: really impressed with it so far, particular highlights being 'Invisible' and 'Burning'. There's some really nice textures in there that were lacking from their last album, which was just a bit too straightforward at times.
Wild Beasts - Albatross by DominoRecordCo