Wild Beasts
Present Tense


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (103 Reviews)
February 24th, 2014 | 92 replies | 7,951 views


Release Date: 02/24/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Album #4, electro-pop's the drink of the day and Wild Beasts are determined to be difficult.

Eight years and four album's on, the absurd conclusion that Wild Beasts must enjoy their relative obscurity doesn't seem so alien. The band have always dived for all the twists and surprises available within the four straight walls of indie pop, and here more than ever they're shown chucking in absurdities from the furthest corner. "They're solemn in their wealth, we're high on our poverty/ We see the things they never see." Now I might be a humble Sputnik contributor, but thems be fighting words.

Present Tense is album number four, electro pop's the drink of the day and Wild Beasts are determined to be difficult: the move waves goodbye to the guitar progressions offering an easy way in to previous effort Smother and any replacements are only sure to alienate further. Disjointed, awkward tempos and drawn out keyboard washes not being best known for winning crowds, after all.

The Wild Beast mainstays are still firmly in place however, though find themselves used differently here. Hayden Thorpe's distinctively sweet voice sticks to its seductive, broody lows for a much more satisfying portion of the album and the band's penchant for jaunty rhythms has the familiar habit of kicking off and the much more unfamiliar one of immediately crashing to a spluttering, almost sadistic halt. "A Dog's Life" being the prime example of a song doing its best to be a nuisance and being frustratingly excellent to boot.

Despite this, the majority of the album's second half sees Wild Beasts allow themselves to relax to a more predictable and immediately enjoyable pace. Songs like "Past Perfect" and "A Simple Beautiful Truth" bring back the guitar loops and excitable chorus' for powerful mellow and off-beat affect. Similarly, Present Tense showcases plenty of slow mood pieces drifting somewhere not too far from ballads, though perhaps a little closer to the band's own brand of pursed-lip sincerity. "Pregnant Pause" manages to exemplify this, with slow chords giving Thorpe's lyrics plenty of time to swirl while still performing a kind of double act as an extended introduction for the next song. Quite impressive, in any sense.

To focus on the easy examples is to miss much of the point of Present Tense. The band's welcome foray into the world of electronics has resulted in some very unique and, to use this word seriously and not to just mean "different," challenging music. "Daughter"'s jump from mellow jam to apocalyptic war music in the final third is sure to raise a few eyebrows, just as lead single "Wanderlust" outraged stalwart indie-rock fans by daring to lead to a chorus they weren't expecting. The band have stuck out their collective neck with some undeniably brave decisions, so it's gratifying to hear it work so well for them.

It's usual for Wild Beasts to herd in a new sound with each album, and while it might be possible to look back and see a very linear path to the present this is arguably their biggest step so far. How much of this can be chalked up to the move to London and producers Leo Abrahams and Alex Droomgoole (aka. Lexxx) is anyone's guess, but the result is yet another superb album for the beginning of 2014- just don't confuse them for people who give a ***.



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user ratings (89)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2014



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

And so it comes full circle...

Get on Wanderlust: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IIbbFIQTKI

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2014



15789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the bits i've heard so far are really good

Digging: Synaesthesia (UK) - Synaesthesia

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2014



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

another corker for 2014, to be sure - shit's getting ridiculous and we haven't even hit what I'm coining "I really hope the world doesn't end before April"

jeremologyy
February 24th 2014



263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Surprised there was no mention of Tom Fleming's vocals. I always appreciate his contributions, especially here on tracks like "Daughters" and "A New Life".

LordePots
February 24th 2014



6518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album is yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes

Digging: B-Ju - Merianplatz

LordePots
February 24th 2014



6518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

also yes

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2014



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

they were good for sure, I just didn't see any reason for focusing on them when there was just so much stuff going on. Over-descriptive reviews are things I shy away from :P

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2014



7314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review as ever Jonny.

Smother is one of my favourite records of the past few years, but so far I'm struggling with this. It's got 'grower' written all over it, though.

Wadlez
February 24th 2014



3823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes yes yes and more yes

LordePots
February 24th 2014



6518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Smother is their worst album tbh

avonbarksdale221
February 25th 2014



8071 Comments


Nice review. Never heard anything from this guys but I'll definitely be giving this a spin.

LordePots
February 25th 2014



6518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

start with two dancers instead of this id say

avonbarksdale221
February 25th 2014



8071 Comments


aight will do cheers potsy

LordePots
February 25th 2014



6518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

np man here's there best song imo/one of my favorite songs ever

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI5XmBVFulU

vocals can take some getting used to but gotta love em

avonbarksdale221
February 25th 2014



8071 Comments


awesome track, loved the slow burn. his vocals were interesting but I can really see myself digging this band.

Wadlez
February 25th 2014



3823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Correct answer

LordePots
February 25th 2014



6518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5


awesome track, loved the slow burn. his vocals were interesting but I can really see myself digging this band.


nice glad u liked it

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
February 25th 2014



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Smother's still really good regardless though

LordePots
February 25th 2014



6518 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeas

osmark86
February 25th 2014



3784 Comments


hmmm, only heard Two Dancers. this any good then?



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