Wild Beasts are an indie-rock band from the Lake District town of Kendal. Their previous album, 2009’s much-acclaimed Two Dancers, was nominated for the 2010 Mercury Prize. Smother is their third full-length album.
More so than a lot of indie bands in the UK right now, Wild Beasts have managed to carve-out and perfect a truly individual sound for themselves. The most instantly obvious element of this is the theatrical falsetto of lead vocalist Hayden Thorpe, yet beneath the surface the band have some fairly unique musical tricks going on.
As on Two Dancers the band do a great job of exploring interesting rhythmic devices, such as the rolling percussion on Reach A Bit Further, the pulsing synthesiser line of opener Lion’s Share or the cleverly interlocking melodic lines of lead single Albatross.
Smother is a much more laid-back, moody affair than its predecessors. On tracks like Plaything the band’s atmospheric synthesised and electronic parts play a bigger role than they have in the past, but the band manage this without compromising any of the feeling in their music or losing their ‘natural’ sound.
This is the sound of a talented band reaching maturity in terms of their songwriting and playing abilities without losing any of the elements that made them exciting in the first place. Smother could well end up being one of the best indie albums of the year.