After releasing three albums in four years, the Kendal four-piece put on the brakes for their latest endeavour, Present Tense; the result is a record that taps tastefully into contemporary culture. By avoiding matter of fact observations and responding with a set of emotive and thought-provoking songs, Wild Beasts’ reflective period has enabled the band to deliver their best record yet. Uncomfortable truths embedded in society are tackled immediately. On opening track ‘Wanderlust’, Hayden Thorpe’s quasi-political lyrics, combined with a pulsating 3/4 time signature unnerves yet engages the listener, perhaps exemplified when politely told: “Don’t confuse me with someone who gives a fuck”. Although Present Tense wraps the listener in a seemingly hostile environment, we are charmed by its honesty. ‘Daughters’ is a brooding number that instills a sense of fear for future generations, whereas ‘A Simple Beautiful Truth’ is glowing with nostalgia; this disparity is tightly bound by an effortless and mature style of songwriting. The record leads us down a number of captivating avenues, all of which seem to be concluded by final track, ‘Palace’: a song that deals with the acceptance of chaos, and finding inner peace within its intricacies.
Wild Beasts sound is an ever changing one, albeit subtly. Present Tense adheres to a more minimal instrumental sound, the vocal lines are executed with a delectable touch and the electronic additions – much like previous release Smother – are incorporated effortlessly. Although it has already been compared to Radiohead’s groundbreaking OK Computer, the benefit of hindsight will prove critical. Its political stance might appear valid now, but to be truly a modern classic, it will need to stand the test of time.
photo: The Guardian