Here it is then, the big pop follow-up. But how have the Bastille boys risen to the challenge?
Anyone hearing lead singer Dan Smith talk about his band Bastille for the first time could be forgiven for assuming that they had released their first album to moderate success and that a small group of loyal fans were eagerly awaiting the release of the second instalment. This charming self-deprecation belies the undebatable truth; Wild World has been anticipated by the music world with bated breath, waiting to see if it matches up to the hit debut album Bad Blood.
Certainly, this is instantly recognisable as classic Bastille. Opening up with a bang, the first track ‘Good Grief’ has bounced between the radio (it was featured as Annie Mac’s hottest record upon release), the festival scene (the band appeared at Glastonbury, T in the Park and V Festival among many others) and the internet (racking up over 30 million plays on Spotify since 16 June). With swooping breakdown periods and an exuberant, lifting chorus, it is unsurprising that this was chosen as the lead single for the album.
There is a definite feeling that while Smith is not quite at home with his pop-star status – admitting to experiencing a panic attack on stage at Glastonbury – this record is more of an insight into both the band’s emotions and mentality in facing the world. ‘The Currents’ is a bold-faced attack on the political classes, lamenting ‘We’re sinking in the pool of your mistakes’. The song is a desperate outcry at the divisive atmosphere that Smith sees on a national and global scale, and a catchy hook always helps to drive the point home.
While the singles released prior to the album coming out are very much the vanguard and no doubt the ones which will receive the most acclaim, there are some superb ‘album songs’ which are absolutely hidden gems. ‘Snakes’ is another maximalist work, a punchy chorus surrounded by a beat which defies anyone to resist nodding their head to.
As the album rolls on, you could complain that a lot of the songs sound the same. There’s some truth to this, although fans of the band would argue that this is simply the distinctive sound of the band showing through. Either way, Wild World is a worthy second album which will no doubt follow the success of their first. Well done lads.