Bastille Delivers Brilliant Sophomore Album with ‘Wild World’
Prior to releasing their sophomore album Wild World, British alternative/indie-pop band Bastille dropped three fantastic singles: “Good Grief,” “Fake It,” and “Send Them Off!” These three songs served as an accurate preview of what was to come from the album. With the arrival of Wild World, Bastille have delivered a gem. The album is consistent from start to finish, spoiling the listener with a wide variety of sounds and flawless falsetto from frontman Dan Smith.
“Good Grief” and “The Currents”
Ahead of the album, Bastille spoiled the listener with promo single, “Good Grief,” which kicks off Wild World. Exceptionally produced, the record is blessed with the ‘pop bag of tracks’, most notably, a danceable groove. Smith’s falsetto arrives for the first time. Even with most of “Good Grief” residing in his middle register, the spare use of falsetto feels like “dessert.” Through and through, “Good Grief” sets the tone for greatness.
“Oh my God, my God / I can’t quite believe my ears!” “The Currents” has the honor of following juggernaut, “Good Grief.” As arduous as it is, “The Currents” delivers another well-written, catchy record. The song is about harmful words and misinformed, idiotic ideas and platforms:
“We’re sinking in the pool of your mistakes.”
Frontman Smith is so shocked he asserts:
“I’m swimming to the surface / I’m coming up for air / cause you’re making me feel nervous / I need to clear my head.”
“An Act of Kindness” begins with balladry, before intensifying with electronic cues and programming. While it doesn’t latch as much as the opening duo, it remains consistent and enjoyable. As always, the production work is on-point. “Warmth” references the titular lyric in its refrain:
“Hold me in this wild, wild world / cause in your warmth I forget how cold it can be.”
“Warmth” illustrates worldwide issues, but finds solace in love, specifically a relationship.
“Glory” is indeed glorious – better yet, celestial. “Glory” makes vague spiritual references, but centers most on the realization that perceived truths were lies. “Stories told to me and stories told to you / did you ever feel like they were ringing true?” Ultimately, with “all their words for glory,” Smith determines that the storytellers lack substance – he no longer believes them. Listeners should believe in “Glory” nonetheless.
“Pain, just synapses firing in our brains / when you cut me, cut me deep.”
Poetic! “Power” keeps Wild World firing on all cylinders as Smith sings about the power she had over him during their relationship. “Two Evils” is among the most mysterious songs on Wild World, finding Smith singing particularly emotionally. A contrast from the production-heavy numbers that characterize the LP, the focus is Smith’s voice and electric guitar accompaniment.
“Send Them Off!”
“Set me free from my jealousy / won’t you exorcise my mind?” “Send Them Off!,” the third single from Wild World, features electrifying production work, particularly the synthesized horns and pummeling drums. Besides exceptional production work, the theme – “Othello meets The Exorcist” – is ambitiously brilliant. Clever lyrics are a selling point throughout the record.
“Desdemona, won’t you liberate me / when I’m haunted by your ancient history”
“Lethargy” isn’t the least bit lethargic regardless of its “tired” title. Unsurprisingly, the chorus is one of the shining moments, catchy as albeit. Even so, honors for best lyric hail from the second verse:
“There’s an English man up in space these days / floating in awe and wonder / as he broke away from the atmosphere / and all of us nonbelievers.”
Great, great lyric. Who is the English man? One Genius annotator suggests David Bowie. Another Tim Peake. Regardless, it’s among the most memorable lyrical moments. The song’s not too shabby itself.
The somber “Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith)” is among the most beautiful, thought-provoking moments of Wild World. Perry Smith was a mass murderer who was executed by hanging. Dan denounces the mass murder’s actions but argues against execution and capital punishment as atonement. Follow-up “Blame” opens maliciously for good reason – apparently, it’s about gangsters. The drama is real on “Blame” without question.
Standout “Fake It” serves as the second single from Wild World. Overall, it is exceptionally produced, with every detail is carefully thought out. Smith gives a superb vocal performance. The chorus is truly epic:
“Oh my lover, my lover, my love / we can never go back / we can only do our best to recreate / don’t turn over, turn over the page / we should rip it straight out / then let’s try our very best to fake it.”
Penultimate number “Snakes” is energetic, bearing some harmonic and instrumental similarities to “Good Grief.” “Winter of Our Youth” concludes the standard edition of Wild World respectably. The moments where Dan blesses us with his falsetto…hallelujah! The ‘Complete Edition’ of Wild World adds a whopping five songs: “Way Beyond,” “Oil On Water,” “Campus,” “Shame,” and “The Anchor.
All in all, Bastille outdid themselves on Wild World. There isn’t one bad song on the album, period. Dan Smith sounds magnificent, providing sensational ear candy to listeners throughout. Well produced, well written, and well performed, Wild World is among the best albums of 2016. Enthusiastically recommended!
Gems: “Good Grief,” “The Currents,” “Glory,” “Send Them Off!”, “Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith)” & “Fake It”