Bastille are a band who can deliver any line in their own unique voice.
Label: Virgin EMI
Released: September 9th 2016
It wouldn’t be fair to call Bastille’s debut album rise completely unexpected – anyone who had seen the increasingly rabid reactions to their live shows in the run up saw something was afoot – but the scale was something else. Now genuine worldwide names, they’ve got previously absent expectation to deal with. ‘Wild World’ has something riding on it.
“I’ve heard lots of bands talking about making their ‘difficult’ second album,” Dan Smith explained in a pre-album video voiceover. “This new album has been written and recorded on tour buses, in backstage rooms and hotels all over the place. The process of writing and making the songs hasn’t changed much, it’s just that this time around, we’re doing way less of it in my bedroom.”
If the gestation period was different, much of the end product has remained the same. Much was made of the lack of guitars on ‘Bad Blood’, and more has been said about their introduction here, but in truth the change isn’t radical. The occasional film dialogue still litter the record, nicely epic remains the order of the day.
There’s no denying Smith’s talent – both as a songwriter and pop magpie. His note perfect vocal still adds a respectable sheen to songs that perhaps prevents some from sounding as inventive as they otherwise would – the bassy drops and stabs of ‘The Currents’ clashing with its own rising, more standard, slightly ill fitting chorus. Opener and lead single ‘Good Grief’ is a mightily effective first play, but nothing on ‘Wild World’ has the near football-chant effectiveness of breakout hit ‘Pompeii’. Instead, there’s a greater variation of texture. That’s not to say it’s a difficult album – far from it – it’s simply drawing from a deeper well of influences with greater maturity. As stand-out ‘Fake It’ proves, Bastille are a band who can deliver any line in their own unique voice. Stephen Ackroyd