Wild Beasts – Albatross (Domino) 08/03/2011

April 10, 2011 by  

Wild Beasts finished 2010 followed by an entourage of accolades. Their second album ‘Two Dancers’ was released in late 2009, and after a non-stop schedule of tours, festivals and TV commercial success, Mercury had nominated it for their prestigious music prize.

Fast forward 6 months and Wild Beasts are back with their new single ‘Albatross’. It’s a return that has thankfully avoided any hint of over-production often brought on in the wake of critical success. If anything, they’ve gone slightly backwards in that respect, so you get a plinky, mini-drama delivered in little over 3 minutes, as frontman Hayden Thorpe retains his trademark operatic style as he tries to relay unspecific heart-wrenchers like “I blame you / for all those things I’ve been through”.

Subtle electronic elements mix well with Wild Beasts’ staple drum presence but all-in-all, ‘Albatross’ is a tentative comeback, trying to be as gorgeous as it is stripped back. But the idea of less being more only succeeds in this being stamped as a cautiously steady return to a well-known formula by a band capable of much greater things. Wild Beasts’ sound is that of an intelligent Starsailor fronted by the love-child of Guy Garvey and Kate Bush. The difference here being that Garvey is MIA and the Bush hasn’t taken her happy pills. Now should have been the time to ram home their advantages and push the envelope with a little more gusto. Their live performances prove they really can hold their own on a variety of stages, but whether they can build on the rousing success of ‘Two Dancers’ is yet to be seen with little evidence of it presented here just yet.

Watch this space though. ‘Albatross’ is a good track, just not a great single which means until we get the full-length offering in the form of ‘Smother’ next month, all interested breath remains baited.

[rating:3]


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