|Wild Beasts — Present Tense|
Wild Beasts — Present Tense
ψ Highly–anticipated fourth LP.
ψ For album number four, the Kendal band turn to the modern world and find their own unique inspiration and beauty. — Ben Hewitt, NME (9/10)
Location: Kendal, England
Album release: 24th February 2014
Recorded: Konk Studios in London and at The Distillery in Bath, Somerset
Record Label: Domino Records
01. Wanderlust (4:55)
02. Nature Boy (3:33)
03. Mecca (3:45)
04. Sweet Spot (3:59)
05. Daughters (4:47)
06. Pregnant Pause (3:09)
07. A Simple Beautiful Truth (2:36)
08. A Dog's Life (3:21)
09. Past Perfect (2:57)
10. New Life (4:37)
11. Palace (3:20)
℗ 2014 Domino Recording Co Ltd
Producer: Lexxx, Leo Abrahams, Wild Beasts
• Hayden Thorpe (vocals, guitar, bass, keys)
• Tom Fleming (vocals, guitar, bass, keys)
• Chris Talbot (drums)
• Ben Little (guitar, keys)
♦ Domino is proud to present the fourth album from Wild Beasts, Present Tense, released on 24th February 2014. The album opener, Wanderlust, will be released as the first single on the same day.
♦ Present Tense is a dramatically new album — taking cues from the most intense and effervescent of 1980s and 1990s electronic sound but rethinking and retooling these elements with exquisite detail for the 21st century.
♦ Longer in creation than any of its predecessors, Hayden Thorpe, Tom Fleming, Chris Talbot and Ben Little took almost a full year away from touring to conceive and construct the eleven tracks of Present Tense. Written in London and recorded at Konk Studios in London and at The Distillery in Bath, the band worked in close collaboration with co–producers Lexxx and Brian Eno protégé Leo Abrahams to create a record of astounding intricacy, coherence and emotional resonance.
♦ Alongside its breathtaking leap in production, Present Tense also finds the band at the peak of their considerable songwriting powers — each one of the album’s eleven tracks illuminating the precious, tender, sad and funny moments of modern life in their trademark plain–spoken poetics.
♦ Already rightly considered to be one of contemporary Britain's most innovative and vital bands, Present Tense sees the group's ever–restless collective muse lead them to remarkable new heights — boldly embracing new production techniques and songwriting forms whilst retaining the thrilling idiosyncrasies that have made them so beloved over the course of three beguiling and beautiful albums to date.
♦ Present Tense will be available on CD (WIGCD279), Digital (WIG279D), LP (WIGLP279) and Deluxe LP with bonus 12” (WIGLP279X) featuring remixes of Wanderlust by Factory Floor and The Field.
David Fisch; January 9th, 2014
♦♦ I’m thoroughly excited to bring you details of Wild Beasts‘ new album, Present Tense. It comes on the heels of my favorite album of 2011, Smother, which featured luscious, intimate production and glowing lyrical progression to match the deepening scope Wild Beasts were determined to display, and with the release of lead single “Wanderlust” off this new and fourth LP, it looks as though Wild Beasts properly took the time to perfect it.
♦♦ According to the official press release, Present Tense is the result of Hayden Thorpe (vocals, guitar, bass, keys), Tom Fleming (vocals, guitar, bass, keys), Chris Talbot (drums), and Ben Little (guitar, keys) taking nearly a year off from extensive touring in order to conceive and construct the album’s eleven tracks. The band “worked in close collaboration with co–producers Lexxx and Brian Eno protégé Leo Abrahams to create a record of astounding intricacy, coherence and emotional resonance.”
♦♦ The lead single, “Wanderlust,” was released on January 7th and has more in common with the Brit band’s pre–Smother efforts, but it contains the sonics of the latter release’s sensual influences, as if the band is, as the press release accurately describes, “taking cues from the most intense and effervescent of 1980s and 1990s electronic sound but rethinking and retooling these elements with exquisite detail for the 21st century.” Safe to say, I’m immensely excited for this one.
By Alex Denney; 31 Jan 2014; Score: ****½
♦♦ Wild Beasts have been busy smoothing out the edges of their sound ever since their first record, ‘Limbo, Panto’, pitched up as one of the more bizarrely theatrical debuts in recent memory six years ago. Three albums of increasingly slick fare on, and ‘Present Tense’ arrives as their cleanest, most thoughtfully understated effort to date.
Fans will by now be familiar with ‘Wanderlust’, a striking — if rather stiff — lead single choice that strays surprisingly close to state–of–the–nation address (“They’re solemn in their wealth, we’re high in our poverty”) before coolly backing away with the line, “Don’t confuse me with someone who gives a fuck”.
♦♦ It’s a typically Wild Beastsian bit of ambivalent rabble–rousing, but not entirely representative of what follows: if ‘Smother’ was Wild Beasts’ wracked study of desire and its aftermath, ‘Present Tense’ finds its lyrical bread and butter in reaffirming the simple pleasures of love.
♦♦ As ever, bassist/frontman Tom Fleming weighs in with a handful of cryptic narrative numbers, the gorgeous ‘Daughters’ being the most compelling, with its provocative hints. But the album’s real pleasure lies in Hayden Thorpe’s increasingly succinct, aphoristic songs, especially when sung in duet with Fleming.
♦♦ On the likes of ‘Sweet Spot’ and ‘Mecca’, the band cut to the quick of their perennial theme — essentially, finding a truce of sorts with our animal nature — with an ease that wasn’t always apparent in earlier, more consciously ‘literary’ songs. On the former track especially, they sound like a group who’s figured out what they want to say and exactly how to say it, dispensing lines as great as “between the hurt and the tender song / between the flesh and the thunderstruck / there is a godless state / where the real and the dream may consummate” with cool mastery. The music, too, gleams with a hard, polished–stone intensity; a result, no doubt, of this newfound directness of approach.
♦♦ On ‘Mecca’, a sensual ode to the sublime cloaked in dry–ice synths, the narrator’s admonition to “surrender your limbs to my every whim, now we’re lovers, we are cartwheeling” is exquisitely framed by softly cascading Linn drum kicks that recall Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds Of Love’. ‘Sweet Spot’ and ‘A Simple Beautiful Truth’ boast similarly concise pop arrangements, and make superb use of Thorpe and Fleming’s yin–yang, falsetto–baritone vocals. ‘Past Perfect’ finds Thorpe quietly seeking reconciliation with a romantic acquaintance, meekly asserting that “every fella deserves his dignity” over doleful piano chords and guitarist Ben Little’s muted funk guitar.
♦♦ For all that, ‘Present Tense’ isn’t perfect. The synths on the record — arranged with the assistance of Björk collaborator Lexxx — still feel underdeveloped next to other aspects of Wild Beasts’ craft. And occasionally the bare–bones arrangements, a virtue in the main, serve to expose minor shortcomings in the songs. But overall, it’s a quibble far outweighed by the thrill afforded by a record that’s as honest and open-hearted as anything this great band have put their names to yet. (http://mamacolive.com/thefly/)
♦♦ Uncut (9/10)
♦♦ MOJO 4/5 stars
♦♦ Q 4/5 stars
♦♦ The Fly 4.5/5 stars
♦♦ Clash (8/10)
♦♦ NME (9/10)
♦♦ Limbo, Panto (Domino Records, 2008)
♦♦ Two Dancers (Domino Records, 2009) UK No. 68
♦♦ Smother (Domino Records, 2011) UK No. 17
♦♦ Present Tense (Domino Records, 2014)
♦♦ Wild Beasts (2004)
♦♦ Esprit De Corps (2005)
♦♦ All Men (2005)
♦♦ Reach A Bit Further (12" vinyl, 2011)
|Wild Beasts — Present Tense |