"Don’t confuse me with someone who gives a fuck".
Simply put, Wild Beasts are a band that are incredibly on point. From hosting the self-curated ‘Soft Future’ night with Evian Christ and East India Youth to collaborating with the Parisian illustrator Mattis Dovier on an interactive GIF novel; 2014 saw the band fully embrace the here and now like never before. The most important product of this definitive shift in the band’s rationale is ‘Present Tense’. Wild Beasts’ resident crooner Hayden Thorpe conceded that the record may gather dust and act as period piece in due time but so what? Wild Beasts have created an album for the year that avoids sounding over-programmed but on contrary, incredibly organic. Robotic yet real.
"How we feel now was felt by the ancients".
Our introduction to Wild Beasts in 2007 was a palm spat on and shook, but now we take comfort in their maturity. No longer are the themes of sex, masculinity and debauchery stitched up in Victorian frocks and paraded around to baroque-inspired rhythms and audacious squeals. The am-dram pantomime vibe has long been abandoned yet their innate baritone-falsetto dynamic remains true. Building upon the firm foundations of ‘Smother’, Wild Beasts utilise their natural ear for endearing melodies and coat them in an electronic sheen. Tossing and turning between luscious ethereal swirls to heavy drones, their synthesised sound is carried with a pounding confidence upon the back of Chris Talbot’s archetypal off-beat tribal rhythms.
"We may be savage and raw but at the core we’ve higher needs".
Embracing the instantaneous nature of the internet age, the listener receives gratification on this record quicker than their previous efforts. They embrace a playful pop philosophy that not only shines through on the record but also allows them to put a Haddaway ‘What is Love’ sample on a FACT magazine mix. They’re a band simply having fun making music. And fortunately this is not detrimental to the record’s emotional core. Grappling with primal human urges and confronting themes of existentialism head first, the band step out the shadows of mysticism and sincerely tackle life’s profundities. ‘Present Tense’ is pure slither of earnestness in 2014 countering the disingenuity that has plagued the alternative music scene for so long. Similarly to their recent support partners The National, Wild Beasts shave art rock of all its pretentiousness. They’re pioneers and that’s a simple beautiful truth.
Words: George Hemmati