by Jamie Harris
‘Wild World’ – Bastille’s second studio album – is very experimental, with influences from dance to rock to pop. Everything is very cinematic from the album artwork to the monologues peppered throughout and (occasionally very dark) lyrics.
It opens with lead single ‘Good Grief’, one of the most clear cut pop songs on the album with an infectious chorus that will be stuck in your head for ages. While some bands may have gone down a one-note route following the same formula as the opening song, the joy of this album is that it then goes off on a tangent. ‘The Currents’ follows it with brass and string instruments, which recur in other tracks including ‘Glory’.
Other tracks, such as ‘Warmth’ and ‘Power’, seem to have more of a guitar-based influence. The latter felt very reminiscent of The XX during its opening riff.
Bastille’s trademark bold lyrical style is here in full force the whole way through the album but, lyrically anyway, two tracks bear great similarity. ‘Two Evils’ and ‘Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith)’ both feel slightly spectral, like Florence and the Machine’s sophomore album. In terms of production, though, the two tracks sound very different with the former being more nuanced while the latter has a more electronic sound.
A stand-out track on the album is ‘Send Them Off!’, with its hip-hop influences and big brass bombast which contrast with lyrics inspired by The Exorcist and Othello detailing irrational relationship jealousy.
Many tracks have choruses to chant along with, including ‘Blame’ and ‘An Act of Kindness’, complete with stomping bass lines to clap along to. Songs such as these give a sense that they’ve been orchestrated for barn-storming live shows.
Lyrics throughout are tinged with sadness and heartache as singer/songwriter Dan Smith questions the world, but they are so catchy and the production so polished that it’s hard not to resist singing along. Case in point, a lyric repeated frequently throughout ‘Winter of our Youth’ is “I’m pedalling backwards, even if I’m pedalling alone”.
With such varying styles and influences, this album shouldn’t work but Smith’s vocals and song writing style keeps it from losing its way. Full of crowd-pleasing anthems, this is an album that has something to say about the state of the world we live in whilst still keeping spirits high.
Rating: 4 out of 5