Wild Beasts ‘Two Dancers’ – Review

17 Aug

It’s funky it’s fresh, It’s Wild Beasts! I did not think I would be saying that about the bands follow up to the great debut ‘Limbo Panto’, and it may only be true of a few tracks, but this is a funky record.

It isn’t a bold step forward from their debut (in fact it lacks the spontaneity of that album) but it is a much more rounded, enjoyable listen. Musically it is dense yet streamlined, super serious but with a sense of fun. If you had to you could draw a line between them and Foals but they share more in common with Talking heads and even the likes of Prince  than with any contemporary act. They are a band you would more easily locate in America but not so much Yorkshire.

The seriousness of the music is nicely offset by some humorous and playful words, although they are equally prone to pretentiousness. This is a highly stylised and sophisticated (not to mention sensual) record, but the words are often deliberately hard to decipher. There is a brilliant part on one track that goes ‘This is a booty call / My boot up your asshole / This is a Freudian slip / My slipper in your bits’ – it’s fantastic but easy to miss as the singers voice goes up and down like a bungee rope.

And so I come to the obvious element that will determine how you rate Wild Beasts – Haydon Thorpe’s voice. It is either a classic falsetto or the most annoying thing in indie, depending on which side of the argument you are on. It shares more in common with Kate Bush than anyone else and there is simply no getting around it. For my money he is a classic singer, abeit a slightly over the top and dramatic one (listen to the stuning opener ‘The Fun Powder Plot’.

‘Two Dancers’ is a very acomplished second record, the band have progressed nicely from their debut without deviating too wildly from the gameplan. It isn’t a classic but it is a nice stepping stone and one of the more surprising albums of the year.

7/10

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