One of the most crucial moments in a band’s career is the sophomore album. This is the album which lets fans decide whether the first one being good was real or just a fluke. Bastille is in the midst of facing this moment. Their first album, “Bad Blood” was a massive success, selling over three million copies worldwide and their hit single, “Pompeii” launched the British indie-pop band into stardom. In June, Bastille launched their new era, the “Wild World” era with the poppy lead single, “Good Grief” followed by “Fake It” and “Send Them Off!,” which all did very well and seem to foreshadow the success of their second album.
“Good Grief” starts the album off with hand-clap percussion and definite excitement. The narrator looks at someone “missing from the photographs” and watching “through my fingers.” There is a sense of vulnerability and hurt – missing the person he is singing to and longing for them. Supported by a big, honest chorus: it is high-energy and a firm opening. “An Act of Kindness” simplifies things down and shows that Bastille are capable of interesting the audience even with a piano-led ballad. Again directed toward that anonymous person, the passion and intimacy burn deep; it feels as though it has been taken away. The track is sparse to begin with but soon breaks into percussion – another catchy, sing-along chorus (albeit one ingrained in sadness).
“Wild World,” as the title suggests, is full of anxieties, rush and confusion – a little more control and meditation would have been welcomed at times. By “Glory” five songs in, you start to feel a little drained and wish for something a little softer and calmer. That being said, it is one of the best anthemic songs on the album and will be a definite live stand-out. Lively, imaginative lyrics and tense electronics; light thumping beats and that anticipated release and choir-like swell. “Two Evils” provides the longed-for calm and possesses a bit of a chill and an introspective hue. Singer-songwriter Dan Smith creates a song that advertises his tremulous falsetto. “You and I are not that different” is a mantra that gets you thinking and pulls you close – the entire song is a dark, brooding drama whose quivering electronic strings are akin to Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang.”
“Lethargy” is one of the most ironic titles on “Wild World”: all colors, call-to-arms and revolution. Smith wants to break out of and overthrow a miasma – chorus lines and beats reminiscent of Bastille’s debut best. “Blame” is toothy and snarling and swaggers with blues-rock cool – a little like The Black Keys at times. A quiet beginning crescendos into a wide-eyed and dance-worthy declaration.
The length of this album is a bit of a downfall. The regular version has 14 tracks, and the deluxe or “complete” edition has no less than 19 tracks, which just feels too long and loses the audience’s attention, especially because several of the songs start sounding very similar. This unfortunately makes songs like “Power” and “Campus” seem unnecessary, even if they have merit on their own. Overall, this album is generic yet fun, making it and Bastille a good fit for the festival circuit.
Go Download: “Glory,” “Send Them Off!,” “Two Evils”
Similar Artists: Imagine Dragons, Walk the Moon, AWOLNATION
Record Label: EMI, Virgin, Universal