fri 25/09/2020

CD: Wild Beasts - Boy King | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Wild Beasts - Boy King

CD: Wild Beasts - Boy King

Cumbrians continue to rework notions of what a rock band can be

'Boy King': elegance and swagger

In the early 2000s, a club called Trash in London, run by DJ Erol Alkan, introduced a wave of indie teenagers to the joys of electronic music, giving them a way into club culture that was all theirs and not beholden to the superstar DJs of the acid house generation.

In the early 2000s, a club called Trash in London, run by DJ Erol Alkan, introduced a wave of indie teenagers to the joys of electronic music, giving them a way into club culture that was all theirs and not beholden to the superstar DJs of the acid house generation. A generation of bands would form directly or indirectly influenced by it – and by the end of the decade, there was a mini wave of bands like Friendly Fires, Late Of The Pier and Wild Beasts, who integrated electronic sound into a rock band format, and brought a bit of disco glitter and androgyny to their image to boot.

It felt like a bit of a “thing”, and certainly a fantastic relief from the drab blokeiness of “landfill indie” (The Kooks, Pigeon Detectives, Scouting For Girls etc) and the wetness of sub-Coldplay boohoo-rock which was filling the charts at the time. Neither FF nor LOTP lasted past their first album, though, and Wild Beasts have remained essentially a cult band – however, it's a big enough cult to get them through to their fifth album still firing on all cylinders.

There's something a bit rawer and spikier about them this time, like perhaps they want to rock out a bit more than on 2014's glossier Present Tense. There's still plenty of slinkiness as on “Wild Cat”, “Celestial Creatures” and the ambient ballad “Dreamliner” – in all of which, Hayden Thorpe's arch falsetto is used to full advantage. But the more aggro, Eighties-flavoured synth rock of tracks like “Tough Guy” and “Get My Bang” manages to keep the elegance and swagger of their style intact too, and one suspects will be particularly effective on the live stage. They may have left their obvious peers behind, but Wild Beasts are maturing into one of our better proper rock bands.

@joemuggs

They brought a bit of disco glitter and androgyny to their image to boot

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4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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