It has been two days since British powerhouse Bastille dropped their second album. Already the worldwide number one on iTunes and with 40 million streams to its name so far, it is safe to say that the album has been well received by fans.
Bastille have an uncanny ability to blur the lines between emotions; creating upbeat tracks about death and somber tunes about sex. On the surface, Wild World is a triumph in creative production and being selfishly meticulous. Each track is carefully crafted, with old film quotes and voice clippings weaved in. Dive deeper and it’s hard to not appreciate the ingenious songwriting and intriguing subject matter.
Whether intentional or not, Wild World is Bastille at their most intimate; engaged in a series of conversations about the state of the world. ‘Winter Of Our Youth’ is a poignant track about growing up, while ‘Snakes’ touches upon escapism and that “fuck it, its Friday” feeling. Lead singer Dan Smith has described the album as a reaction to current events and how it’s fine to use other people as crutches. Or in short form, “how the world is fucked and people are really fucking awesome”. The theme is apparent throughout Wild World, intensifying with each track. It is with ‘Warmth’, a song about losing yourself physically in somebody else, that is reaches its full effect. Describing the song as the album’s backbone, it is also where the band drew the LP’s name from.
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about Bastille is their ability to create strong imagery with their songs. Each song tells a story while still allowing the listener to piece together their own visualizations and interpretations. At times, it feels like a soundtrack to a movie. There is a moment mid-album, which could have been taken straight from a Quentin Tarantino film. ‘Two Evils’ is the shortest song on the LP but also one of the most memorable. Taking full advantage of their new-found love for the electric guitar, the production is stripped right back to showcase some of Dan Smith’s most stunning vocals. Within seconds of it ending, the blaring horns of ‘Send Them Off!’ begin. A hip-hop inspired track, it is bold and fearless and already a fan favourite.
Wild World is the product of a band who care too much about the music they are making to care what anybody else thinks about it. While some tracks exist on different sides of the spectrum, with dramatically different influences, it doesn’t feel messy or thrown together. A gritty song about arguing gangsters seamlessly following a gloomy track about capital punishment is a feat few artists could pull off. An upbeat narrative about grief opens the album and a soul-baring love song closes it out. Hesitant to define the album before its release, it suddenly makes sense why.
It is hard to call Wild World one thing. Much like the human condition, it is weird and beautiful and brave and at times, really really sad. Most of all, it’s an honest narrative on what it means to live in this wild world of ours.