Album Review: Wild Beasts, "Smother"

Wild Beasts is one of those bands that draw an embarrassing amount of adulatory adjectives from music critics and is regularly tipped for the top. Their richly textured and distinctive art-rock/dream-pop sound is both complex and distinctive, and therefore ideal fodder for music critics to show just how clever they are. But it's a well-known fact that Joe Public likes simpler fare and male vocals in a lower range than lead singer Hayden Thorpe's countertenor. Accordingly the Cumbrian quartet's third excellent studio album will garner the usual nods of appreciation from the musical cognoscenti but go largely unnoticed by the wider masses. The delicate, yearning evocation of Invisible and the lush, smouldering feel of Burning evoke comparisons with adult pop legends The Blue Nile but with a shimmering range of rhythms. The group's standout feature, however, is in the vocal department. On songs like Loop the Loop and the aptly named closer End Come Too Soon Thorpe shamelessly deploys his swooning, swooping operatic singing to prove once again that the voice can be the most expressive instrument.

23rd May, 2011
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