Album Review: Bastille – Wild World

By on Thursday, 29th September 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Bastille Wild World album coverCapitalising upon the successes of an album that garners you worldwide popularity is always a tough trick for bands to pull off. With Dan Smith and Bastille, they’ve slowly built upon the release of 2013’s ‘Bad Blood’ through EPs and various mixtapes in the intervening time. Now they’ve finally released a fully-formed second full length album.

Bastille waste no time in ensuring you’re completely immersed in the proceedings by using cinematic samples to create somewhat of a flowing narrative throughout. This follows the design of their album covers, which feature film poster typography and styling. ‘Good Grief’ features 1987’s ‘Weird Science’ Lisa character, who ties into the song’s lyrical contentthat is focused upon the loss of someone from your life who brought such strong feelings to the surface they are essentially “perfect”, which is Lisa’s character purpose within the film. The lyrics “What’s gonna be left of the world if you’re not in it?” during the pre-chorus alludes to more serious consequences than just heartbreak, perhaps even death. This suggests the song’s ultimate meaning is much darker than the relatively upbeat musical accompaniment.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWCB3hpJDXM[/youtube]

‘The Currents’ focuses upon negativity that is spread so easily through the many platforms we have in the modern age. Once again, this is reinforced by an intermezzo of spoken word, though this time popular culture is left behind and this sample is taken from a cold-war era propaganda video. From the beginning, there are three separate movements throughout the first three tracks, the last of which is more melodramatic and dark with ‘An Act of Kindness’. Starting with a slow piano hook, it boils into a thunderous, yet still slightly withdrawn chorus. It also continues the trend of Bastille painting dichotomy with their music, the song concerns actual positivity in this often pessimistic and self-absorbed world.

Musically, the album’s strengths lie in this band’s ability to create choruses that carry major pop weight, making them not only memorable but unforgettable. Almost. Bastille are aware of what they do well and make no mistakes in focusing upon it. It’s not quite pop-by-numbers but it’s certainly not groundbreaking. While ‘Two Evils’ breaks away from this previous statement, resulting in one of the weaker moments on the album, it’s granted that albums should have a break point, where the majority of the album’s flow is separated in order to fully enjoy and appreciate what happens around it. However it breaks away too severely, almost stopping the momentum gained by the prior tracks. Fortunately ‘Send Them Off!’ brings it back in with style. As a grand, classic Bastille offering, it does all it can to pick the pace up again, and succeeds.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yhuSy7_frw[/youtube]

‘Wild World’ can feel mildly repetitive, where the formula utilised again and again begins to feel stale. There’s no real development, which over 14 tracks can feel like quite an unnecessarily prolonged journey. Considering the album started with such promise, it’s disappointing it soon descends into boredom. The last third has no real talking points, and any real feeling is soon lost after ‘Send Them Off!’. Finale ‘Winter of Our Youth’ continues the trend of tapping into the more vulnerable parts of the mind, in particular focusing upon the past and glorifying it rather than realising it may not have been as perfect as we remembered. The slow and progressive nature of the track mirrors the lyrical content, particularly with the lyric “I’m peddling backwards”.

Bastille certainly have a penchant for choruses and pop hooks, but for a band who are able to delve into the darker moments of humanity, including death and retrospective (see ‘Pompeii’), they don’t allow the music to fully represent this. Some might argue that music with a pop bent like Bastille is only as strong as its hook. But Bastille are a band who are capable of so much more and could easily juggle both depth and pop to a new extent. They skirt the darker side of life, but need to soon pair it with a fresh formula and not recycle the one that saw their fast ascension.

5/10

‘Wild World’, the second album from Bastille, is out now on Virgin EMI in the UK and Capitol Records in the States. To read more coverage of Bastille on TGTF, click here.

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