Album Review... Wild Beasts - Smother

Following on from the success of their critically acclaimed and mercury prize nominated second album 'Two Dancers', Wild Beasts unveil the next chapter in their career with the release of their much anticipated third album 'Smother', Joe Gadd gives it a review.

Lion’s Share:
A strong album opener, offering up something different straight away with the Beasts experimenting with an electro sound. Hayden’s vocals creep in as if whispering secrets before a simple but haunting piano melody floats in. The lyrics reflect the song’s title, suggesting a sense of defiance as Tom joins in on backing vocals. Hayden raises the volume as the song flows from start to finish.
Out of 10: 8/10

Bed of Nails:
The welcome sound of drums makes its first appearance on the album after being dropped for a synthesizer in the opener. Again, hints of electro underlay the bass line that strongly directs the song. Hayden fully utilizes his vocal ability by hitting those high notes he is known for and effortlessly interchanging as the dynamic of the song rises and falls like waves. Out of 10: 9/10

Third song in points to Beasts of old opening with a simple drumming sequence before Tom’s first turn on lead vocals rises over Hayden’s mercurial tones in the background. A more mellow song than the last two, offering a sense of relaxation after the Beasts’ experimentation with electronic sounds.
Out of 10: 7/10

Loop the Loop:
One of the strongest songs on the album and hopefully a future single, Loop the Loop instantly draws you in with its climbing bass line before Hayden returns to lead vocals. Loop the Loop follows on with the soothing melodies from the previous song but strongly hints back to the mysterious tone of indie rock from the previous album. The grace of Hayden’s voice and guitar against the deep bass complement each other well.
Out of 10: 9/10

A stripped back song with Hayden once again taking centre stage over a hypnotizing drumbeat. Perhaps not as solid lyrically as Wild Beasts’ songs tend to be but for the lack of lyrical ability on show, Hayden’s singing once again makes it a solid song. A synthesizer gradually flows into the song during the last few minutes to build the song up to a crescendo.
Out of 10: 8/10

With Tom once more returning to singing duties, Invisible unfortunately lives up to the rest of the album so far in my opinion. Despite Tom having sung on some of my favourite Wild Beasts songs, Invisible feels as if Hayden may have fared better and offered a different tone. After the steadily rising crescendo beaten up from Plaything, more was expected from this song.
Out of 10: 6/10

The albums’ lead single and my favourite song after Loop the Loop. Hayden’s haunting vocals are matched up well with the acoustic guitar that joins him at the start and also the piano soon after. Tom’s strength on backing vocals juxtaposes well with Hayden hitting the high notes and makes this a great choice as the first single.
Out of 10: 9/10

Reach a Bit Further:
The bongos that form the backbone of this song suggest a happier tone than that set so far throughout the album. With Hayden and Tom both sharing vocal duty, the lyrics flow from verse to verse as each demonstrate their singing ability to perfection. The bass flies in and out throughout and the use of chimes towards the end adds to the new ground the Beasts are breaking.
Out of 10: 9/10

The instrumental use is minimal through Burning as the end of the album beckons and sets Tom as centre stage on vocals. The simple use of guitars throughout makes for a very gentle sound but not a particular strong song after the flowing rhythm that was apparent throughout all the others so far.
Out of 10: 7/10

End Come Too Soon:
Despite being only the tenth and final song on the album, End Come Too Soon is a seven and a half minute masterpiece. The song ebbs and flows through with both singers offering their talents throughout. The gradual rise towards the end of the song is dramatic and the drums force the song along with purpose as the albums draws to a close, showcasing some of the bands best work to date.
Out of 10: 8/10

Despite venturing into previously unexplored territory with electronic sounds, Wild Beasts have continued their tradition of forming an album that is brilliant from start to finish. They were unlucky not to win the Mercury Prize and hopefully Smother will serve to open such a talented English band up to a whole new fanbase whilst still pleasing its current one. Each song is memorable in its own way and one can only hope Wild Beasts continue to release such amazing music.

Wild Beasts - Smother
Out of 10: 8.1/10

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Review by - Joe Gadd