Hearing an album live before hearing it on record throws me personally, but that’s just what I did with Wild Beasts. And having had only a passing interest since their critically acclaimed and Mercury nominated 'Two Dancers', I’m not exactly au fait with the entirety of their back catalogue. But with such high expectations to live up to, Wild Beasts have accomplished so much more with an eerily therapeutic and haunting album full of love, lust and longing.
The first thing that really hits with 'Smother' is the incredible vocal acrobatics of Hayden Thorpe. Like an indie Mariah Carey, it just helps to bring the tracks to life. Opener 'Lion’s Share' is the exact example of this, a beautiful swooping melody, with Hayden’s distinct vocals adding so much more.
'Albatross', the first single from the album follows the Wild Beasts’ pattern exactly, as does much of the album - a haunting melody coupled with strong vocals. I’m not even going to complain about the album mostly sounding the same, as it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard so far this year. And speaking as a stressed student, it’s gentle enough to relax anyone in it up to his or her eyeballs, but sadly it’s that breathtakingly beautiful it is bound to distract you from any work you’re meant to be doing.
'Reach A Bit Further' is an excitedly percussive number, and compared to 'Albatross', it hurries along like a wild beast (I’m sorry, that was really bad!) It’s a personal highlight on the album, alongside the incredible 'Invisible'. The latter being an intense slow burning track, displaying the astounding vocal abilities of Hayden, and more important the gentle croon of the final lyric "Your lips to my lips, cease to exist" slays the romantic in me every time I play, and that is a fair few times already.
One of my favourite albums of the year so far, and thankfully a distance away from the usual frantic indie rock that is usually cluttering up my iPod. Perfect for those moments when you want something light and easy, strangely hypnotic and melodic to listen. Essentially, in my revision scattered head right now, Wild Beasts have created the indie chill out album of the year - 'Smother' is that wondrous dependable collection of sounds that sit right in any mood or situation.
STREAM: Wild Beasts - Reach A Bit Further
STREAM: Wild Beasts - Invisible
'Smother' is available to purchase your local retailer, Amazon.co.uk, iTunes etc.