The quartet’s swan song shines brightly.
Label: Domino Records
Released: 16th February 2018
The humble live album – so often indicative of a lucrative cash-in or an excuse to break out of an album deal, delivered with little thought or precision. But when used correctly, it can be a kind of magic, a slice of history captured in its purest form.
Their parting gift upon their split, ‘Last Night…’ is Wild Beasts’ way of setting alight the ship before it sails off into the distance. As such, it sears with an aggression and urgency that only comes from a band who know that this is last chance to articulate their message.
A tracklist that draws on old and new, the energy of their live show is in fine display, picking out the delicate instrumentation that underlies their studio recordings and showing just how complex their songwriting can be. ‘Hooting & Howling’ celebrates Hayden Thorpe’s falsetto as dreamily as ever, while the live take of ‘Boy King’’s ‘2BU’ sees Tom Fleming in resolutely brutish mode, a butterfly of a melody teasing around his head as he thrashes around trying to catch it. For a band who played so well with aspects of gender, it’s the perfect depiction of modern masculinity.
When soft finally unites with hard, Wild Beasts run in a league of their own. ‘The Devil’s Palace’, a mash-up of two back catalogue tracks especially for this record, sees heart and mind unite, throbbing openly for all to see. Far from fading away, the quartet’s swan song shines brightly, a romantic testament to one of art rock’s finest. Farewell Beasts, you will be missed. Jenessa Williams