Words by Sean Walsh

Someone once said “People are absorbing the mysticism of American artists, and rightfully so…But we’re interested in the mysticism of our own landscape and trying to reflect that rather than creating one that doesn’t belong to us. That’s where the most interesting, intriguing music comes from.” That someone just happened to be Wild Beasts’ Hayden Thorpe, and he actually said that pretty recently. If you know anything about the boys’ previous efforts, you would understand why he feels that way.

The fourth full-album from UK’s Wild Beasts, Present Tense, showcases a similarly-seductive type of auditory-lust beckoned by its 2011’s predecessor, Smother. It remains playful but mature, as it is clear that this is a collective-collaboration and creation of initially-fragmented thoughts welded together, that takes shape and begins to “move as one animal.”

Such songs like ‘Wanderlust’, ‘Sweet Spot’, ‘Daughters’, ‘Past Perfect’, and ‘Palace’ maintains the same brooding-swooning-enticing-inviting-engaging-enslaving nature that we have come to love and expect from the Wild Beasts, however this time its conveyed in a different manner. This is what pop music should sound like. Feelings should be evoked from the sounds that you hear; sonic dramas that can change your mindset, mood, and emotional state of being with the introduction of a simple note, vocal harmony, or breadth of silence.

Unfortunately, it is the same construct that has built this album that is its ultimate short-coming – a summation of parts, coming together in a modern world, to express its conforming identity with a continuously changing world.

In terms of sounding like one full album, it most certainly does; the ebb and flow of synchronicity and fracture, happiness and frustration, the pains that exist on whatever plane of living we are currently on that is referred to as “real”…but we are indeed absent of a good chunk of the ferocious-wittiness which appears on Limbo, Panto, and the upbeat-suaveness of Two Dancers.

Not to say all is lost though, as we are lucky! We are getting to watch and understand how the once adorably-innocent little puppy evolves and matures into the more intelligently-gritty and ultimately seductive creature that we’ve been curious about from the beginning…les fauves…the Wild Beasts.

Wild Beasts
‘Present Tense’
Domino Records
© February 25th, 2014



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