Bastille “Wild World” Album Review
Album Review by Sarah Spohn
“So what would you little maniacs like to do first?”
Those lyrics begin the first single off British electronic pop indie band Bastille’s new album. First, those little British Bastille maniacs (Dan Smith, Kyle Simmons, Chris “Woody” Wood, Will Farquarson) want to make their return to the indie pop music realm with their single, “Good Grief.” From there, they want to solidify their spot amongst the charts, as they did back in 2013.
The four-piece electronic/pop band Bastille’s sophomore album, Wild World was released on Sept. 9, via Virgin Records.
For those who associate the band with “Pompeii” fame (Eh eh eh eh oh) or recognize the band from one of its seemingly endless festival lineup posters, Bastille is back at it and ready to make waves. Again.
The first track, the band’s single, “Good Grief” is perhaps the catchiest of the lengthy album- at a whopping 21 tracks if you include the bonus songs on the Target exclusive version.
Smith echoes listener’s likely reaction to the catchy quality: Caught off guard by your favorite song, I’ll be dancing at a funeral. Dancing at a funeral.
While death isn’t a happy topic, it’s one of the themes throughout the band’s storytelling album.
Bastille isn’t known for the most lighthearted of lyrical topics, just look at their first hit single, ”Pompeii,”a song centered and named after the entire town in Rome engulfed by flames from Mount Vesuvius.
An amateur might see the band and label them as pop: full of emotional void, focusing on denim jackets, black skinny jeans and a perfectly coiffed hairstyle (all of which front man Dan Smith wears so well), but that’s certainly not all they are.
Witty and insightful commentary on today’s ‘wild world,’ the record is chock full of anecdotes about the role of government, politics and media, all laced throughout the progression of tracks. Deeper messages are delivered in an upbeat pop package, a feat hard to do.
Weaving seamlessly between snippets of newscasts, old movies, and historical audio, Bastille delivers a sonic message to its listeners. It’s a message of an awareness of the human condition– the good, the bad and the ugly.
“Warmth” delivers this message clearly: Never good, just the bad and the ugly lay in front of you. Nothing like seeing the world through the TVs we know. Feeling hopeless, I look for destruction.
Wild World continues with edgier guitar bits compared to the 2014 Bad Blood and the former album’s combination of strings, marching drums and electronic beats.
The album, while sounding incredibly produced, might be a bit of a stretch for fans who fell in love with the airy, high-pitched vocals of lead singer Dan Smith. The 2016 release symbolizes a growth in the band, and while still notably recognizable with crystal clear vocals and a bouncy back beat, it does seem to be an updated sound.
Though, wouldn’t it be strange for a band who started playing in small UK gigs to making the festival rounds from Glastonbury to Coachella, embarking on a world tour and selling over 7.5 million records in both the U.K. and U.S. to not evolve?
It would be, for lack of a better word, wild.