Bastille delivers solid sophomore record Wild World
Bastille is about to face a crucial career moment. The sophomore album! The British band had their big break in 2013 when their single ‘Pompeii’ grew out to be a worldwide hit. The accompanying album Bad Blood sold over three million copies and they played all the big festivals. In June they started the campaign for the follow up with the poppy comeback single ‘Good Grief’. With the promo singles ‘Fake It’ and ‘Send Them Off!’ they seemed to easily sail through the whole second album challenge, but does the whole of Wild World follow suit?
Dan Smith’s band grabbed the public’s attention three years ago with a catchy mix of synth pop and soft rock and they capitalize on this with Wild World. The productions are bold, the choruses huge and the hooks keep following each other up. Take for example the track ‘Lethargy’ which offers melodies good for at least three different pop choruses. The album is full of tracks that can see easily be sung by a stadium full of fans. Luckily the British band has a large following that will actually make this happen.
Lyrically, Wild World goes deeper than its predecessor with Dan Smith laying bare his insecurities in a straightforward manner. He expresses a feeling of guilt about not being able to return a positive gesture on the layered and gripping ‘An Act of Kindess’ and realizes when ‘lying in the dark, there’s no looking up for heaven’ on the danceable, but definitely not uplifting ‘Glory’. There is also room for some social commentary on ‘The Currents’ about bigoted people with hateful opinions and ‘Warmth’ about the cold nature of today’s society. “Hold me in this wild, wild, world, cause in your warmth I forget how cold it can be”, Dan sings with a desperate longing.
The only slight downfall with this album is its length. The deluxe edition has no less then 19 tracks, which feels a bit to meaty as a lot of the songs present a similar soundscape. This makes tracks like ‘Power’ and ‘Campus’ sound unnecessary. Luckily Dan and his men shake up the pace every once in a while, for example with the western inspired slow jam ‘Two Evils’, where he just sings over a guitar, sounding flawless. ‘Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith’) is a synth ballad beauty that immediately grabs the attention on the first listen of the album as a whole. So atmospheric!
Where artists are often struggling for a direction on their sophomore album, the guys of Bastille went all in and stayed true to their sound while improving it. It could have been a little more compact, but no doubt that Wild World will further cement their status as one of the most exciting pop bands of the moment.
Must listen: Lethargy, Fake It, Send Them Off!, Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith), An Act of Kindness