Released: 4th February 2022
The Future. Over recent years, more and more of pop’s top table have found themselves musing on the direction of travel for a society increasingly locked into their screens, controlled by their bubbles, and further disconnected from the worlds around them. For most, that’s come down to one reductive simplification: ‘phones are probably bad’ – but there’s more to the rampant dystopia than just resigned grumpiness. Sometimes, when the world is on fire, the best thing to do is dance in the rubble.
For Bastille, that latter route provides far more fertile ground. While their peers may bemoan the failings of a brand new world, fourth album ‘Give Me The Future’ embraces the possibilities of a limitless universe. The potential to be anyone in a dreamscape untethered from the day-to-day makes escapism the star of the show.
Take ‘No Bad Days’ – a track that promises the hope that it says on the label; a world without disappointments of the real world. ‘Distorted Light Beam’ turns away from the mundane and dreams of something better, while ‘Stay Awake’ rides the waves with a promise that “freaks and geeks can rule the world”. Embracing the full spectrum of pop, the influences are wide and varied. There’s the disco-samba pop of ‘Back To The Future’, New York theatrical bombast with ‘Club 57’ and big 80s pop hooks on ‘Plug In…’. In musical terms, it’s only one washer short of the kitchen sink – but what could so easily be disjointed and confused pulls together on the strength of its central theme. As channels skip and distractions blast out from every direction, it’s the shift of the digital sands underfoot that keep it grounded.
‘Give Me The Future’ isn’t a record that’s unaware that everything around it might be broken – it isn’t even trying to hide from it. Instead, it’s trying to find a route through the flames – more as a coping mechanism than an optimistic ignorance. It’s not judging where we’re at; it’s hoping that the dice fall for the better.
In truth, though, ‘Give Me The Future’ can be summed up by both its centrepiece and final track. Closer ‘Future Holds’ plays the bright side, exclaiming, “Who knows what the future holds? Doesn’t matter if I got you”. It’s Riz Ahmed’s more pessimistic contribution on spoken-word interlude ‘Promises’ that sits at the record’s mid-point that says it best, though: “The world’s burning, but fuck it.”