LP £16.49 WIGLP267
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CD £7.99 WIGCD267
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- Smother by Wild Beasts
3 reviews. Write a review for us »
Less like Wild Beasts and more like the ugly ducklings who turned into beautiful swans. Forgetting about debut 'Limbo Panto' which we'll now classify as a prototype, this one carries on where the superb 'Two Dancers' left off. In a similar vein to that album this is a slow burning treat and an album in the old fashioned sense of the word in that you must listen to it from start to finish. There are no particular highlights, no obvious singles. I can't particularly find a 3 minute excerpt that will get a non believer into it. Instead it gently undulates, ebbs and flows and shifts in mood throughout. The musicianship is spot on with some amazing percussive rhythms, an exquisite attention to detail - a shard of keyboard here, a beautiful guitar line there, all painstakingly worked out. In that then the nearest comparison would be the mid 80's precision of Talk Talk circa 'Colour of Spring' just before it all got magnificently detached. I'm also reminded of the soft sculpted undulations of Kate Bush 'Hounds of Love' album (at times vocalist Hayden Thorpe sounds quite uncannily like Bush herself). His quivering tremelo must have surely won over even the most hardened of critics by now in this context it fits so beautifully you'll start to think of it as a particularly unworldly instrument. Typically, some of the finest music come towards the end, the doubly whammy of The XX meets jangle pop beauty of the single 'Albatross' is followed by 'Reach a Bit Further' which is possibly the highlight of their career so far, stunning glacial guitars, dual vocal antics, Lee Harris style propulsive drumming. Its all there, yet there's even more to come, the final two tracks ebb into ambient territory Fennesz like guitar cut ups on the snail like 'Burning' and if closer 'End Come too Soon' drifts just that bit close to Efterklang style pomp for my tastes they are allowed the occasional misstep as the rest of the thing is just too bloody lovely for words.
10/10 Harry Customer review, 12th March 2015
I first heard this album before I listened to the rest of the discography, and it started an obsession. The noughties will always be remembered for the great alt/indie bands (great to me anyway!) including Bloc Party, Franz etc. The Wild Beasts managed to contain everything I love about the genre but with a unique style. Some might say erring on the pretentious side, but I say just incredibly well thought out. Everything about this album is eclectic; everything about this album is strange. The lead singer's voice, the arrangements, and the choice of lyrics. A band who have no reservations of writing whatever feel, and however feel. The music echoes the bands attempt to be strange yet interesting. An album worth listening to, even just for the drum arrangement in 'Plaything'. He's got a cracking voice too.
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