January, for most people, is a proactive time. It’s a month for planning and of course looking forward. So it’s only natural that my first post of the year be of a revisionist nature. 2014 may or may not go down in the annuls of time as a particular stellar vintage for musical offerings. But I thought I might as well mark the past year with some albums that caught my attention and provided a more that pleasing soundtrack.
Wild Beasts – Present Tense
There’s no better place to start then with one of my favourites. Although I must also begin with this minor confession, I have never really been the biggest fan of the Kendal based indie contingent (yes I did have to Google where they are from). But whilst I may not have been a fan, I in no way detested any of their previous releases. You could even say that I was completely oblivious to their back-catalogue. But at this stage you’re probably more interested in why this album took my fancy?
Present Tense in its entirety is a study in pop music. It is an album which begs and borrows from classics throughout the decades and yet does well to shade any over-obvious references to its benefactors. Whilst the ‘P’ word (yes still talking about pop) has been demonized by the generic mind-numbing offerings of the dreaded daytime radio stations (rant over, I promise), it is really refreshing to see Wild Beasts return some respectability to the once respected genre.
The album, the bands fourth studio release, is an ear-pleasing collection of delicately balanced tracks brought to life through upbeat keys, mellow synth and a most impressive vocal contrast between Hayden Thorpe and Ben Little. Standout tracks from Present Tense include:
Wild Beasts – Mecca
and of course
Wild Beasts – A Simple Beautiful Truth
You’d be hard pressed to find a better use of a metallic trench coat in any other music video!