Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
Wild Beasts make paintings, not music. Of this, we're sure. Hayden Thorpe sounds like David Bowie, out there making mini operas, the kinds of which no one has ever attempted before. He does this with sweeping textures and resplendent coloring, making us feel as if we've never seen this hue they call red before and this yellow is something dream-like and without a properly programmed definition.
Wild Beasts make the kind of music that, were it set right next to most other examples and samples, would make you think that the other is rotten, that there's something less appealing to it, like it's too easy or it needs remodeling. They throw us into deep waters and as we're entering from the surface, with a deep-throated thrump, its crystalline beauty and it's scariness are immediately jarring and lovable. Jarring only because there's nothing like the sounds that Wild Beasts present -- the idiosyncratic dances of natural flavors, spice winds, high-brow and dusty language, and enough magical elixir that the swimming that it lets you do in it is life-affirming.
It's jarring to be thrown into such a place, where you're looking around, and the room starts swirling as your eyes open more and more, and there's nothing at all recognizable and your breath gets stolen from you, but you're not pressing charges or posting fliers on telephone poles, offering a reward for its safe return with no questions asked. You want it gone and it feels as if these guys playing this music, or whatever it's called will take the very best care of the new, breathless you. They've obviously had much practice and they seem willing to impart some of that knowledge on you as they welcome you into their weird world of expressive banquets of plumage.
"Limbo, Panto" was one of the freshest and most exciting albums of 2008 and "Two Dancers," and "Smother" are just as thrilling. These albums show us a band that doesn't believe in there being any rules that need to be played by. They find it better to be without any kind of structured itinerary and yet the music never suffers from anything like the shambles -- so freaky that it hurts. Wild Beasts are the best at turning their surroundings on a silent, ashen night into a milky dream of cosmic wonder and fantastical heights. They make you dizzy with words, Thorpe's one-of-a-kind vocal styling that is like taffy and laughing gas and dizzy that these young men are able to do any of this because it has no precedent.
Wild Beasts Official Site