Indie rock four piece, Wild Beast have returned with their 4th studio album Present Tense. The album has been in production since 2012 when the band announced they would take a year out to work of the record.
The album begins with lead single ‘Wanderlust’ which has a dark, sinister feel, with a deep driving bass line with Hayden Thorpe providing falsetto vocals. Already it is difficult to envisage it getting any better than this with such a strong opening track. As we transit into second track ‘Nature Boy’ the tempo slows considerably, with this Thorpe’s vocals drop into a deep croon comparable with The Editors, the bongo dominated beat still rolling with purpose towards third track ‘Mecca’ and we’re back into falsetto but sticking with a lower intensity for now. The record has been produced by Leo Abrahams and could account for the ambient multi layered feel to the record, especially evident on ‘Mecca’. It has been immaculately produced on every audible level, it is an album that can be best appreciated with a decent pair of headphones.
Wild Beasts do well to combat monotony, each track offers something new and different from the last; They quickly and cleverly mix up tempos but manage to do so without feeling disjointed. Occasionally the lyrics are a little lost “She’s just a little girl, Jesus was a woman” (on track 5, ‘Daughters) or perhaps they are simply lost on the uninitiated.
The album does however begin to peter out slightly towards the end of the album, track 9, ‘Past Perfect’, being a true highlight at the tail end of the 11 track LP, despite their attempts to break the album up by the time final tracks ‘New Life’ and ‘Palace’ play, it is difficult to distinguish them from the rest of the album.
They are definate contenders to be nominated for the Mercury Prize again this year having been nominated in 2010 for their second album Two Dancers. It’s a real album for music lovers and this album too will surely feature on a lot of people’s “Best of” lists come the end of 2014. Whether it has the bite to make it in the mainstream is unclear. The album is completely devoid of catchy choruses required to make and of the tracks regular radio appearances, save perhaps ‘Wanderlust’ and ultimately it will probably be considered a cult classic, discussed with a wink and a nod of the knowing few.
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