Album Review: Wild Beasts – Boy King

By on Friday, 19th August 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Wild Beasts Boy King album coverYou might remember our review of Wild Beasts’ first single from ‘Boy King’, ‘Get My Bang’, which was described as sleazy, but in the best way possible. Well, it appears that they have carried this through to the entire record, and it’s a perfect execution. From the outset, they have no problem with getting the atmosphere to a point where you want wherever you are to always be dark, lowly lit and to contain some form of your desire. They’ve previously described this move as avoiding “being comforting” and see it as a way to keep the entire Wild Beasts idea fresh, away from stagnation.

‘Big Cat’ shows the album’s style early on with a slowly pulsating drum rhythm, enveloped by electronica and more generic instrumentation. The lyrics are always alluding to some form of predatory action, most obviously with the title and references to it, leading man Hayden Thorpe being top of the food chain. The overall formula doesn’t change throughout the LP, which is a good thing. It’s almost conceptual in its idea and execution. With it being a look into the more animalistic stylisation of human nature and the way we sometimes just want to get down to the most primal of instincts within our coding, it’s filled with grand and sometimes obvious statements.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRFtHO180tg[/youtube]

Another fine example of this is ‘Tough Guy’, with the words “now I’m all fucked up and I can’t stand up, so I better suck it up like a tough guy would”. It succeeds in breaking down the barriers of supposed niceties and what is expected of gentlemen, yet we all let go sometimes and occasionally it works out for us. The chorus also has a rather obnoxious synth line that cuts across everything and mildly similar in sound to Ace of Base’s leading riff in ‘All That She Wants’. Maybe it’s coincidental, or maybe it’s a genius method of subtle referencing to the state of mind of the song’s main protagonist?

Of course, Wild Beasts aren’t ones to forget the fairer sex. ‘Alpha Female’ pays tribute to the fact that woman truly do control us men, and how we have no problem setting our steps behind you. ‘Get My Bang’ still has enough sleazes and sultriness to more than support the rest of the album. As mentioned previously, the instrumental makeup of the record really doesn’t differ too much. And it’s just a delightful walk through the more intense senses. ‘Celestial Creatures’ attests to this, with its ethereal and focused description of humanity at its most organic.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNy54uzxR2I[/youtube]

‘2BU’ uses Tom Fleming’s baritone is used to take the album’s voice down in ‘2BU’, which is interesting in that the rest of the track describes nothing but wanting to overtake someone’s life and be them because they have everything you want. ‘He The Colossus’ lives up to its name, with a powerfully sounding chorus that challenges the vocals for space in the mix, bringing though a colossally memorable sound. Taking the sound found throughout and warping it slightly, ‘Ponytail’ uses some more of Fleming’s baritone and an opposing instrumentation that collide together.

The two final tracks of the album bring the affair to a climax, with a truly egotistic look at the mind of the modern man in ‘Eat Your Heart Out Adonis’ and a more vulnerable truth within ‘Dreamliner’, where man’s overall vulnerability is hidden by the bravado that is often used to front this in the real world. The former is the last of the power and focus, a gruelling bass line with haunting sounds swirling in the background, with the vocals laying down the law of the animal kingdom, where the stronger thrive. The latter is a much more withdrawn affair, being a mostly acoustic affair. With the strings being audibly plucked, it’s as the atmosphere behind it swells that the track gains its momentum. The momentum drops away occasionally, which brings out the vulnerability, before the grandeur makes its slow way back in.

‘Boy King’ is perhaps one of the greatest documents of modern man and his true return to the natural state. Wanting to be the powerful Adonis, he who rules the kingdom and has his queen. Wild Beasts have managed to create this world, while giving it a sound that will not only transverse generations, but also one that will also prove a strength in their discography.

9/10

‘Boy King’, the new album from Wild Beasts, is out now on Domino Records. Catch up on more of Wild Beasts’ coverage on TGTF here.

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