It was commendable that the Wild Beasts split up when they did but the concern is...what will happen to the other two? The singers should be ok. I assume the low-voiced one will make a solo album in time but first out the blocks is the high-voiced one also known as Hayden Thorpe. His voice is so distinctive that it's going to sound like the Wild Beasts but a listen to early tracks reveals a soft sophistication and haunted balladry.
Vinyl LP £22.99 WIGLP438X
Limited edition indies only deluxe LP on Domino. Heavyweight vinyl housed in a UV spot gloss and a foil block sleeve.
- Includes download code
Vinyl LP £21.49 WIGLP438
Heavyweight vinyl LP on Domino housed in a UV spot gloss and a foil block sleeve.
- Includes download code
CD £9.99 WIGCD438
CD on Domino.
I for one was glad when the Wild Beasts split up. The band who at one point were my Actual Favourite Band had started the deep descent towards mediocrity with their last two albums the patchy Present Tense and the barely listenable Boy King but it was a sad way for them to bow out. I prefer to remember the glory days when I was obsessed by their Two Dancers and Smother LPs.
First of the alumni out the blocks is (unsurprisingly) their distinctive-voiced singer Hayden Thorpe. Diviner eschews the band's later misguided attempts at funk pop for their earlier glistening melancholic beauty. It's not *that* far away from sounding like a Wild Beasts record save for the band dynamic, the appearance of any guitars and the vocal foil of Tom Fleming. Instead Thorpe builds up layers of pianos and synths in a manner not altogether far away from Hounds of Love era Kate Bush. Earthly Needs is typical of his new approach. Sophisticated, expensive sounding pop with the sort of melodies and chord changes that hark back to classic 80s bands such as early Talk Talk and late Japan.
The press release suggests a departure from Thorpe's earlier work but I'd suggest that Diviner is a refinement of what has gone before. Thorpe's voice is no longer the love it or hate it yelp of his early day shrieking. If anything the album lacks dynamic surprises but at it's best its a lovingly prepared dish. Love Crimes is perhaps the albums high point - the smoothed off lamp lit neo classical melodies are elevated by Thorpe's glorious harmonies which slather and skate over the music. It's the album's truly transcendental moment.
Strangely, it's an album that does what you may expect but also brings something new to the table. He's all grown up now and he's making music for adult dinner parties but it's still quite the gorgeous and unique thing.
10/10 Phil 24th May 2019
Unlike Clinton I thought the Wild Beasts were getting into a great stride with their last two albums...loved both. It was so sad that they decided to quit at what was, I thought, a high point. Love it when leftfield bands nudge into the mainstream and let thier musical ambitions grow. Seems 'Boy King' did the band in though...so it was a joy to hear this was on the way.
Beautifully made, played, sung and written. Plenty of space in this lovely music ...mostly piano lead but full on interest ....classy and elegant!
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