wild beasts

2014 Songs of the Year: Part Four - 30 through 21

Just got here? Get up to speed with Part One, Two and ThreeClick the Prev post button at the bottom of this post to get to Part Five once it is out.

 

30. I Ain’t Gonna Tell You - The Dedication

As I posted back in May there is something a little bit inspirational about this record. Proper disco, but made for now. So much energy, passion and drive that it is hard not to feel ashamed if you didn’t bounce out of bed this morning with a grin on your face. Get on it!

 

29. Hey Mami - Sylvan Esso

Sylvan Esso make folky influenced pop with garage and bass influences and from the moment I heard this opener to their self-titled debut album I knew I’d never forget it… Hey Mami is basically ridiculous - more bass and pop sass than you can possibly know what to do with.

 

28. 2 Is 8 - Lone

Lone’s album has been a sleeper classic for me this year - one I keep going back to. 2 is 8 is one of it’s most immediate and infectious moments.

 

27. Real - Years & Years

Years & Years caught my attention supporting Say Lou Lou earlier in the year, and it was hard not to come away thinking the headliners had been upstaged. As we near the release of their debut album their recent tracks have felt a little less urgent and essential, but Real was them at their best… Olly Alexander’s vocals pitched and desperate and the electronics raw and insistent.


26. ILYSB - LANY

I know nothing about LANY, nor this song, but it found it’s way to me towards the end of the year and I’m utterly in love with the way it captures the intensity of loving like nothing else matters. The killer line: “And you need to know that nobody could take your place … And you need to know that I’m hella obsessed with your face”. Nothing else this year made me feel so much like an infatuated teenager.

 

25. I Don’t Need Another Lover - Billie Black

The first track I heard from Billie Black remains her best so far - her vocals are steadfast and determined and the electronics bounce and skitter along full of all the modern soul the song can muster. Definitely one to watch in 2015.

 

24. Sweet Spot - Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts hit 2014 like their lives depended on it - Present Tense is easily their best album yet, more taught, focused and ultimately theirs. Sweet Spot was one of the finest songs on that album, full of all the refined minimalism that defined much of its best moments.

 

23. Return - Eno + Hyde

Brian Eno and Karl Hyde delivered several surprises this year… Following on just weeks after their conflicted first collaboration Someday World was High Life, and it was at times a revelation. This epic opener combined elements of the African style that inspired the album’s name with some of Eno’s signature production styles, whilst simultaneously reminding us that the best thing about U2 is actually an Eno trick… Just feel those guitars.

 

22. Rootwork - Trees

Crazy, epic, confused and utterly beautiful. Trees was unknown to me before this year, but there is no forgetting him once you have heard Rootwork - it’s simply fantastic, inspired and genius.

 

21. Alena - Yumi Zouma

Bloggers’ darlings in 2014 following their self-titled EP and breakthrough track The Brae, but it was the warm shot of Balearia that was Alena that really showed what they Yumi Zouma are capable of.

Video: Wanderlust - Wild Beasts

Ahead of their new album Present Tense, due out on Domino on February 24, Wild Beasts have released the video for lead single Wanderlust. It feels like a departure for Wild Beasts, more electronic and there is a more solemn and ominous atmosphere.

The co-production on the album comes from Lexxx and Brian Eno portégé Leo Abrahams. The press release says we should expect a step-change in production once the album drops, and if this is anything to go by then I'm excited. Cue my jazz hands.

Album Review: Two Dancers - Wild Beasts

BlackPlastic has listened to the Wild Beasts' new album Two Dancers many, many times already and yet is still a little at odds with what to think. Listening to this album is a bit like trying to make love to fish - it's difficult to get a purchase on what you like about it but once you have reached its climax it generally feels like it was worth the effort.

Singer Hayden Thorpe's falsetto vocals do occasionally stray a little close to pretentious pomp but for every slight miss-step (the ponderous 'When I'm Sleepy') there are moments of sheer fantasy - the tenor intro to 'All The Kings Men' followed by a superb lead vocal delivery.

Wild Beasts also have a wonderfully delicate sound at times - as the gentle muted guitar of album opener 'The Fun Powder Plot' comes in it captures a tremendous amount of feeling before a single word is even laid down. And despite having a sound that at times feels a little self-consciously arty there are still hooks you can get behind, as on lead single 'Hooting & Howling'.

What Wild Beasts have created in Two Dancers is an album of magnificent depth. It may occasionally boil over but when it delivers it manages to evoke the curious feeling of what it is to be a you Britain in our age. This is an album that undoubtedly looks forward yet at the same time it could only exist given Britain's musical heritage.

BP x

Two Dancers is released on 3 August on Domino, available for pre-order at Amazon.co.uk on CD and LP [affiliate links].