Monday, March 24, 2014

REVIEW: Wild Beasts - Present Tense

Present Tense, the fourth able from Wild Beasts, is an intimate and emotional journey writ in an electro-pop language.  The themes encompass rage, dehumanization, angst, physicality, hope and redemption.  The soundscapes are adventuresome and boast multiple textures, bold rhythms and playful melodies.  The interplay of baritone and falsetto vocals deepens the emotional impact.  It is electronic-based synth music that is triumphantly alive and vital.  Listeners familiar with the previous albums from Wild Beats will note the increased reliance on keyboards, a reliance on the additional depth and touch of menace added by the synth bass, and the soaring high-register atmospherics.  But in light of the results I would be surprised if there are any complaints.   The album consists of eleven tracks, but they fit together so well, and the sequencing is so perfect, that it really seems like a single performance in eleven acts.  While it may not be unusual for a band to seek that effect, the successful execution is rare.

If you wonder whether pop music can be intelligent and carnal, pop but progressive, emotional but subtle and restrained, electronic and human, the answer is "yes, see Wild Beasts".

Wild Beasts are Hayden Thorpe (guitar, bass, keys and falsetto vocals), Benny Little (guitar and keys), Tom Fleming (bass, keys and tenor vocals), and Chris Talbot (percussion and baritone vocals).  Present Tense is out now on Domino Records.


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