Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bad Blood | Bastille


★★★★☆

British band Bastille chose a good year to debut; 2013 was a great year for indie pop and rock artists, especially with the trend sparked by Lorde and Lana Del Rey, and this band just added to the greatness with their album Bad Blood.

Bastille was able to breakthrough into international markets with "Pompeii," which captivates everyone with it's tribal-like sound and strings of "eh-eh-oh-eh-oh" underneath the main vocals. It holds the indie-pop sound that has recently accelerated Lorde and The Neighbourhood in stardom, so it was only natural that Bastille came right along with them. Obviously Lorde has had the most success of the three, but the two all-male groups have also gotten some love from music listeners too.

The title track from the album is another highlight from the album. Personally, I quickly fell in love with the layered vocals of the pre-chorus while lead singer Dan Smith sings "These are the days that bind you together, forever / And these little things define you forever, forever." The great sound carries over into the chorus, as the instrumental track fills and the lyrics draw to "All this bad blood here, won't you let it dry? / It's been cold for years, won't you let it lie?"

Following "Bad Blood" comes the slightly-slower "Overjoyed," which finds Smith soaring into the stratosphere of his falsetto while singing "And I hear you calling in the dead of night / Oh, I hear you calling in the dead of the night." The song is a bit haunting and I feel like it's almost like it was inspired by the tracks of Coldplay's Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. The song seems like a B-side from the album, actually.

"The Weight of Living, Pt. II" kicks life back into the album, bringing a up-beat and happy sound. However, this sound somehow masks a darker theme of losing control under all of the pressures of life, as shown by the lyrics "You've lost control / Do you like the person you've become? / Under the weight of living" and "It all crept up on you, in the night it got you / And plagued your mind, it plagues your mind." This same technique of throwing a sad meaning into a happy song was used in "Pompeii" as well.

In between all of these songs that rely primarily on drums, electronic noises, and an overall sound that I can only seem to describe as "tribal," the primarily-piano ballad "Oblivion" seems to be haphazordly shoved in the middle of the album's track listing. I must say, though, that the harmonies that appear starting at the 1:40 mark of the song are beautiful, creating a choir-like sound, but the song as a whole just doesn't seem to mesh with the rest of the songs on Bad Blood.

"Oblivion" picks up some help from some strings, which comes back later with "Laura Palmer." In the chorus of this song, the strings are incorporated and strung between the beats of drums and Smith singing "This is your heart / Can you feel it? Can you feel it? / Pumps through your veins / Can you feel it? Can you feel it?" The song seems to carry a bit heavier of a sound than "Pompeii," which proceeded it in the singles line-up from Bad Blood.

For a debut album, Bastille did well. They've found a sound that works and seems to be universally liked by alternative and indie fans alike. With a few more albums under their belt, they could solidify their spot as Coldplay 2.0. Obviously Coldplay will forever be the only Coldplay, but Bastille has got the same appeal as them. "Pompeii" introduced them to the world, and another smash-single could give them all the boost they need to gain a solid fan base. I was thoroughly impressed with Bad Blood, and I'm sure many others were as well.

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