Wild Beasts: Smother
English bands have a knack for combining elements of dance with indie rock without sounding cheesy, and Wild Beasts are at the front of the pack in this regard. Smother doesn’t shy away from experimental sounds mingling with pop sensibility. If Foals and Massive Attack had a sonic lovechild, it might sound like this record.
“Lion’s Share,” the first track on the album, is a perfect demonstration of the band’s craft. Though it begins as a fragile piano ballad, it builds into something more intricate and atmospheric. There’s always something otherworldly about Wild Beasts’ music, like the slow but dizzy “Deeper” or the darkly sexy “Plaything.”
Perhaps the album’s finest gem is “End Come Soon,” which harnesses Interpolesque guitars and plaintive vocals. Even though it’s the longest song on the record, it does make it seem like Smother is over all too quickly. Fortunately it’s the kind of record that can be listened to all night long without seeming repetitive.
Lyrically, desire and unrest twist together throughout Smother, but the melody of the music makes the painful topics sweep past as smoothly as the more positive ones do. It may take some attention to detail to even process the lyrics because the instrumental track is so engaging, but Wild Beasts are worth engaging on every level. The band’s name may not seem to match up with its effortless style, but this is a group certainly poised to take over according to their own rules.