Any Adult Jazz coverage begets the question of how many words will
pass before Wild Beasts are mentioned. In this case,
the answer is 14. If the comparisons are partially valid, they’re also reductive; a more rounded frame of reference
might be some combination of Four Tet, alt-J and calypso-pop outfit Beaty Heart.
In any case, the Leeds quartet’s sound is utterly their own. January’s
hugely impressive double A-side
‘Springful / Am Gone’ laid out the Adult Jazz blueprint: off-kilter polyrhythmic beats,
jittery bass lines and fractured pitch-shifted vocals that coalesce into a majestic whole.
In truth, that song pairing probably still represents the strongest
material on this debut full-length but the aesthetic permeates the
Reputedly entirely recorded with vintage equipment in an isolated farm up on the Scottish borders,
there’s a singular vision at work here that means even weaker tracks, like the overlong opener,
‘Human Gone’, are beautifully,
sparsely produced and feel part of a
This is a skeletal art-pop triumph.
If the initial quality is high, the bar is notched gently skyward. From the
unsettling, politicised dystopia of Suite 2, ‘Touch & Agree,’ to the love
letters the duo pen to carnal desire on ‘Pleasure Milieu’’
s pair of tracks, the album covers an astounding range of human feeling and stimuli as its pithy lyrical statements dissect power structures,
spirituality, and what it is to be human.
Even the album’s shortest pieces – ‘Solemn Swears’ and ‘Noetic Noiromantics’
are two of many tracks that clock in under 2 minutes – leave an indelible mark through haunting mantras and icy,
dislocated electronic motifs.
I could go on but let me summarise: few words can do justice in paying tribute to a record that is one of 2014’s only true greats.
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