Bastille return with a mammoth 14 track album, packed with as much talent as their debut ‘Bad Blood.’
Three short years ago, indiepop band Bastille blasted into the minds and hearts of the nation with their debut album ‘Bad Blood’. The words “instant classic” can be thrown around so easily that it loses its meaning, but in this case, nothing else seemed right.
No one could have possibly predicted the scale that this record catapulted the quartet into the spotlight. An air of expectation must have clouded the creation of their second album, with such a tough act to follow as it were. But obviously undeterred and packed with talent, Bastille have created exciting follow-up ‘Wild World’.
This mammoth 14 track album stares ambition right in the face, and barely flinches. But if you’re expecting the power of ‘Pompeii’ or the catchy dance classics of ‘Of the Night’, this is not the direction ‘Wild World’ is going in. Much more melancholy in parts with hints of synth-pop, Bastille show that they have versatility beyond ‘Bad Blood’.
‘Good Grief’, ‘Warmth’ and ‘The Current’ feel like upbeat, crowd pleasers bathed in positivity: the type of songs with bold choruses, satisfyingly great guitars and leave an all-round good feeling in your chest. The imagination of instruments in ‘Send Them Off!’ is wonderful, the powerful brass grabbing your attention and booming percussion complements vocalist Dan Smith’s voice stupendously, it is genius. This is a definite highlight and fills you with such a buzz, you can’t help but fall a little bit in love with it.
Remnants of Coldplay linger in ‘Two Evils’ and ‘Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith)’ which offer a pleasant change of direction from the usual bouncy, pop tunes. It is special to hear Smith’s vocals exposed in such a way that he shines even when there is nowhere to hide. Not that we ever denied his singing ability, but it is always good to check. Close your eyes and you can hear ‘Two Evils’ echo around an arena somewhere, with the lights down low.
The latter half of ‘Wild World’ offers a lot more of the same, like a pop/rock déjà vu which is pleasant enough to listen to, but at this point, the songs feel as if they have all been said before in some shape or form. The temptation to switch onto something, not necessarily better as Bastille have done a mighty fine job on this record, but different, just to mix things up a bit is ever growing. Particularly with closing track “Winter of Our Youth”, which feels regrettably forgettable in this choppy sea of songs is not exactly the way one wants a record to close.
Did Bastille need 14 songs to deliver this message? Probably not, but perhaps in small doses or in single form is how ‘Wild World’ is best lapped up. Producing such a lengthy album is no mean feat, and the quartet must be commended for making such quality feel good music. But hand on heart, if asked if a few of the tracks could have been sacrificed for the greater good of the album, the answer has to be a yes.