Album Review: Bastille - Wild World
By Jonathan Fuchs, Music Director
Key Tracks: “Good Grief,” “Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith),” “Fake It”
Bastille has never really been the most interesting of bands. Their smash hit “Pompeii” was definitely one of the better tracks invading radio stations in 2013, but everything else on their debut record Bad Blood felt like they were trying so hard to be different from what’s popular that they ironically began to sound like everyone else. With songs like “Things We Lost in the Fire” and “Laura Palmer,” the band exhaustedly tried to appeal to the “New Americana” crowd with a tired sound and repetitive lyrics. Surprisingly, their sophomore attempt Wild World is a pleasant-on-the-ears return that is equally catchy and imaginative as it is fun.
The album starts off strong with tracks like “Good Grief” and “The Currents” that are intense, hard-hitting and extremely catchy. It’s hard to believe anyone won’t bob their head along to the chorus of “An Act of Kindness,” with the repetitive lyric “and now it follows me every day.” The entire album has a booming production that constantly feels like the band’s amplifiers are right next to your ear.
Although some of Bastille’s past songs has contained mediocre-sounding electronic instrumentation, the use of electronic instruments all over Wild World is constantly impressive. From the reverb-soaked 8-bit synths in “Warmth” to the distorted 808s on “Fake It,” each sound is surprising, with frontman Dan Smith belting each lyric with plenty of emotion.
At times, Wild World slips back into the problems Bastille had with on Bad Blood. Compared to the rest of the album, tracks like “Two Evils” and “Way Beyond” sound like recycled B-sides that the band’s record label forced onto the tracklist to make more money. Some of the tracks throughout the middle of Wild World never feel as inspired as the stronger moments that surround the beginning and end of the record.
There are a handful of bland moments, but as a whole Wild World is a solid album that pretty much gets rid of Bastille’s creeping “one hit wonder” status. It isn’t a record that will blow your mind or change the way you’ll look at music, but it’s fun, it’s harmless, it’s a good time.