Anyone who has tuned into a music station lately will be familiar with Bastille’s single ‘Good Grief’, the catchy and rambunctious first offering from their second album ‘Wild World’. The 80s vibe, addictive chorus, and funky beat hinted that the British indie pop group could be embarking on a fresh sound and would bring forth an innovative and bubbly variant of indie music. However, these hopes for variety and innovation are shattered by the complete album.
On listening to ‘Wild World’, major fans of ‘Good Grief’ will be in for a treat and will no doubt enjoy the rest of the album, as, to put it bluntly, there is very little difference between the 14 tracks. The rhythms scarcely vary, the vocals of lead singer Dan Smith retain their air horn-like quality throughout, and the choruses all have an air of deja vu. Sadly, the unfortunate lyric featuring on one song of “We’re not that different you and I” could easily be an ode to the music of the group itself.
The homogeneity of the sound isn’t to say that the album is without highlights. The mellow track ‘Two Evils’ stands out – it could be because of the eerie tone, or simply because of the variety it adds to the record, as the track takes a different direction to its counterparts. The latest single from the album, ‘Send Them Off” also proves to be something resembling a highlight. Lead singer Dan Smith’s description of it as “a big, bombastic, swaggering hip-hop track” seems to be somewhat accurate, as it certainly packs more of a punch than other Bastille material. If only more of the album’s offerings had such passion and musical variety, and the diversity demonstrated by ‘Two Evils’ and ‘Send Them Off!’ simply highlights the uniformity of the rest of ‘Wild World’.
It has to be said that the misstep that ‘Wild World’ appears to be is a shame, given the success they have had in the past. The indie band hasn’t released a full album since the 2013 multiplatinum commercial success ‘Bad Blood’, which earned them sales of over 8 million and an array of glittering awards.
After such prosperity, the group no doubt had a lot to live up to, and their debut album, while nowhere near perfect, suggested that they had the potential to serve up hit after hit. It was clear that their tracks were carefully crafted and their beats memorable. Perhaps ‘Wild World’ will dismantle the idea that Bastille have what it takes to be international indie superstars. Only time will tell.