Tag Archives: song

REVIEW: Wild Beasts – Smother (10/10)

It’s always good to see a band come back fighting. Wild Beasts were pipped to the Mercury Award Music Prize from The xx less than a year ago, but no matter they’re back with another album that once again provides promise, beauty, poignancy yet with enough modesty to leave us coming back for more and shows why we fell in love with them in the first place.

Wild Beasts have never been one to hide away from living up to their name, at least lyrically speaking anyway. All of their work has showcased themes of sex, lust and desire. Difference is this time around they relish singing about the idea that sex can be bad. There are no romantic ideals from Thorpe this time, that is to say all emotional ties go flying out the window. Yet later on in the album we do see Fleming, on the track “Invisible” contrast these thoughts with small specks of the fact that relationships based on sexual intent, be it bad or otherwise, can sometimes come back to haunt us unless both people are on the same page (emotionally at least) “you have walked through my dreams, I want you to see this”. As well as on “Deeper” where he laments “The breakfast is all laid out/ Waiting for you to arrive”. His quivering vocal suggests he missing something, or someone once lost and this is a perfect way to really convey that sense of absence.

Thorpe’s prowl on “Lion’s Share” is reminiscent of Kate Bush’s draggy vocals. We feel the vulnerability here as showcased by uneasy piano coupled with Thorpe’s predatory lyrics “I take you in the mouth, like a lion takes it’s game”.
“Bed of Nails” is another personal favourite. The opening drum pattern as well as when Thorpe’s falsetto kicks in easily suggests a Hercules & Love Affair comparison. It’s here where Shelley’s Frankenstein influences really come to light “When our bodies become electrified/It’s alive, it’s alive, its ali-e-i-e-i-e-i-i-i-ive” layered on top of swooning guitar; it makes for a beautiful track.

“Smother” is ,without doubt, very deserving of every plaudit and praise that comes their way. They have taken observations of the landscapes of lovers, delving deep into the detachment of unabashed wanton desire. If ‘(500 Days) Of Summer’ and ‘Blue Valentine’ took the love story and turned it on his head, then ‘Smother’ has looked at the love song from a different angle. As much as it leaves you cold with their blunt observations, this album is also an invitation to listen to the beauty of exactly what happens “post-break up sex”.

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Click here to stream the album and listen to it in its entirety, on The Guardian’s music website

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REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Wasting Light (8.5/10)

By now most of you will have heard “White Limo” and “Rope”. Both songs being very different from other; “Rope” is you standard beer-chugging, hands in the air, fist-pummelling each other stadium-rock anthem whilst “White Limo” is probably the heaviest I have ever heard of the Foos.

It’s also worth clearing the reunions on this album. All merely coincidence and in danger of completely overshadowing release of this album; Pat Smear is now fully at the helm, Butch Vig who produced Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ is at the reigns this time, Krist Novoselic plays accordion and bass on “I Should Have Known”, and it has been twenty years since the release of ‘Nevermind’. But “I Should Have Known” is not about addressing the pink elephant in the room; it is not about Kurt’s suicide.
The geek in me was excited when I heard that the Foos would be returning back to basics for their new record. Recording straight to tape, working from analogue and recording in their garage. They’ve ticked every single box in their fifteen year career including a double album that was stretched pretty thin in places to be honest, so their last album left me wondering where could they possibly go from there; do they record and ‘Echoes…pt. 2’ or do they pursue in covering new (ish) territory and take their formula and turn it on its head.

The answer, I’m pleased to say, is the latter. Hanging out with Joshua Homme has clearly given Grohl a new lease of energy and creativity; I’ve always been a fan of the heavier Foos tracks (like Low and Have It All) and it seems they explore these avenues on this album, “Bridge Burning” has to be the album opener of the year with its gutsy riffs and drum rolls that will no doubt get all the kids jumping like loons at Milton Keynes bowl later on this year. Another notable example is “Dear Rosemary” where Nirvana and Foo Fighters influences are fully addressed by duetting with Husker-Du/Sugar icon Bob Mould; heavy in emotion and conveys a rawness never felt on previous work but carries enough restraint to truly showcase its warmth and beauty without feeling repetitive or cheesey.
“Arlandria” kicks in with a familiar groove and subtlety with its rhythm and throbbing bassline that wouldn’t feel too out of place on a Queens Of The Stone Age album, definite favourite here for obvious reasons.

This album benefits from painstaking production. A lot of time and care has gone into making this album sound good. It really is a disservice to listen to it on shitty laptop speakers, it has to be listened cranked to 11 on the your stereo speakers, you can hear the fretboard buzz, fingertips brushing strings, before the guitars cascade over you, without ever having the essence of a wall of sound scape like Muse. It feels like a friendship that was at a crossroads, what you fell in love with is still there but what has successfully worked has been turned into something fresh to engage old hardcore fans and to attract new listeners. The formula for good old fashioned rock anthems is still there and less cookie-cutter-y but this time with an omnipresent harder and faster delivery and this benefits all the more from it.