For some, the name Bastille might only conjure up an unsuccessful battle during the French Revolution studied during Mr. Gigiano’s AP Modern Euro class sophomore year. Maybe you saw them on the rainy first day of Lollapalooza this year (lucky ducks).
Or, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been eagerly anticipating their second official album for years now.
Their first album, Bad Blood, dropped way back in 2013, and since then they’ve added onto that album later that same year (no, I didn’t know you could do that either) with All This Bad Blood, and in winter of 2014 they released an album full of electric collabs with other bands called VS. Other People’s Heartache Pt. III. Their most popular single to date is the ethereal “Pompeii”, and while those who listen exclusively to the Top 40 Hits might say they were a one-hit wonder, fans of the quasi-indie band (a la moi) would argue strongly otherwise.
Though All This Bad Blood is pretty darn impossible to top, the band definitely did not disappoint with Wild World.
Their first album had a more acoustic thread to their songs, while Wild World emphasizes a more electronic sound and prominent synth tracks with songs like “Campus”. Another new twist Bastille has added to this album is weaving in soundbites from movies into each of their songs, which, though unconventional, work very well to set the tone of each track. Though the majority of the album is a work of art, there are a few that prevent it from getting a perfect score like their first. “Campus” and “The Currents” are most likely my least favorites on the album. With those tracks in particular, I felt like the lyrics were mailed in, and they just mixed together a bunch of techno-fluff to make a song. One of the reasons I fell in love with the band in the first place was the depth of the lyrics in songs like “Weight of Living Pt. I” and “Haunt”. However, “Campus” seems to be the exception and not the rule, thankfully, as songs like “The Anchor” and “Oil on Water” have an almost poetic quality to their lyricism.
The overall tone of the album spans the full spectrum, I must say. Some tracks, like “Send Them Off!”, “Snakes”, and “Way Beyond”, among others, are high-energy, with a beat you can do more than just awkwardly bob your head to. If you’d rather slow things down a bit and just appreciate the gifts that are Dan Smith’s vocals, I recommend “Four Walls (The Ballad of Perry Smith)” or “Two Evils”. Tracks like “An Act of Kindness” and “Power” bridge that gap, finding a happy medium between the two extremes.
My personal favorites on the album are probably those that most closely resemble the style of their first album. “Glory” has an absolutely amazing opening few bars, with the subtle string accompaniment accentuating Dan Smith’s voice in a way no other instrument can. “The Anchor” has probably the most engaging movie soundbite at the beginning of it, and the drum beat that follows the incredible bridge gave me chills the first time I listened to it. If we’re going by instrumental quality, though, then “Oil on Water” has got to take the cake. It has this brilliant horn solo that comes out of nowhere that builds and layers so beautifully throughout the rest of the song. It classes up the track, giving it a timeless quality that not many modern songs can lay claim to.
Songs that you absolutely have to listen to are:
- An Act of Kindness
- Send Them Off!
- Fake It
- Way Beyond
- Oil On Water
- The Anchor
It may seem like a lot, but it’s a massive album, so I’m really only giving you the highlights. Even if you’d never heard of Bastille (the band, that is, not the French prison) before reading this, it’s never too late to start. You can find Bastille’s Wild World on Spotify and Apple Music.