Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone.
They’re back. Three long years following the release of their first studio album, “Bad Blood,” Bastille has returned with their second: “Wild World.” It’s safe to say, though, that this album was worth the wait.
The 19 tracks of “Wild World” have a sound highly reminiscent of the electro-indie pop genre that Bastille fans are accustomed to, but the band has definitely begun to experiment.The songs differ stylistically from one another far more than in the last album, which is refreshing because a common critique of their past work is that songs ran together and were difficult to differentiate. However, in their newest album Bastille manages to offer a variety of styles while still leaving no question as to what kind of music fans can expect from them.
Evidence of their new sound is found in “Send Them Off!” Their usual electronic style is not gone, but instead accompanied by some brass. This subtle funk influence is embedded seamlessly into the song, and makes for a ridiculously catchy chorus.
“Send Them Off!” additionally integrates another quirk Bastille is playing around with – the inclusion of spoken word soundbites within their songs. This experimental technique was included in one or two songs in “Bad Blood,” but it’s evident that it has been delved into far more in this album. Whether this is a positive aspect or not is subjective. I find that the addition of these soundbites elevates the songs, heightening what is already a unique listening experience. On the other hand, it could potentially be argued that it disrupts the flow of the songs.
What’s not up for debate, though, is the skill of Dan Smith, lead vocalist and lyricist. Bastille’s songs are notoriously verbose, which is why it can sometimes take a few listens before the lyrics hit you. However, once the clever allusions and poetic words are brought to your attention, their ingenuity is impossible to ignore.
Another factor differentiating “Wild World” from Bastille’s older discography is the inclusion of upbeat songs. Whereas previous works were melancholic, these new tunes are more gung-ho, propelling the listener forward as opposed to dragging them down.
That being said, not all past techniques have been forgotten. Bastille are still the kings of build-up and will often cut out all instrumentation, leaving the listener in anticipation before the soft, a cappella of past measures are abandoned in favor of one final rousing chorus.
Whether or not this new album will draw in those that aren’t already fans of Bastille is iffy. The niche audience that currently exists is definitely catered to, but I’m uncertain that any song from this album will appeal to the masses the way that “Pompeii” did in 2014.
On the whole, “Wild World” is a solid installment to Bastille’s repertoire and if you were a fan previously, you won’t be disappointed.