Bastille have been something of a recent phenomenon. They came from nowhere and rose to fame like a shot in the dark, with their inviting mix of synth, indie pop and 80s influences. Lead singer Dan Smith’s strange vocal style and penchant for adding extra syllables to words (I counted 6 Syllables on the word ‘devices’ on Pompeii) has struck a chord with many an indie disco lover and has left people wanting more.
To cater for this need the band have released All this Bad Blood, an album that not only features all the songs from their debut, but also two new tracks, rarities, covers, and an old mix tape of Dan’s. This adds up to 24 songs, value for money eh? The question is however, is it worth buying?
Let’s start off with reminding ourselves of the songs we already know from the original album. If you haven’t heard any of them, where have you been? Tracks such as Laura Palmer were huge in most countries and with good reason, once it’s in your head it’s there to stay. Bastilles mix of haunting harmonies, thumping drums and renaissance 80s vocals is enough to tempt even the most uptight person into tapping along. Things we Lost In The Fire has one of the most vibrant choruses on the record making it an irresistible choice for best track, and Pompeii with its gothic opening harmonies and commentary on modern life proves the band can also do something with lyrics, “and the walls kept tumbling down in the city we loved” sings Dan setting a poignant message for the track.
But let’s move on to the new stuff, chances are if you’re reading this you’ve already got the band’s debut and want to know what else they have to offer. The good news is there are actually quite a few great moments on the new tracks. Standing out is Of The Night, a kind of mash-up of Snaps Rhythm is a Dancer versus Corona’s The Rhythm of the Night. It feels perfectly tailored for indie nightclubs the world over, ripe for playing at 2 a.m when everyone’s had far too much to drink and up for making a fool of themselves on the dance floor. Haunt is another highlight, much more than its labelled ‘demo’, feeling much more polished, and like the lyrics say, this track will “come back to haunt you” with its ebbing affection. Previously on other peoples Heartache is a clever interlude of rarities which the avid fans will love, and Laughter Lines sounds like something from the movie Drive, fitting in nicely with the synth 80s feel of the entire album. The record ends with Tuning Out, paying tribute strangely to O’ Holy Night, and somehow works really well.
Some people may feel the extras actually make the album feel a little exhaustive and maybe Dan and the boys should have tailored some of the ideas further or saved them for a later album release. In some respects I don’t really know why this wasn’t done, maybe with the unforgiving nature of the music industry Bastille wanted to get as much material out there in case the tide turned on their popularity. It would have been annoying if the newer tracks were below standard, but they’re not, most are great. This shows Bastille are not just around for a short time, they are here for the long haul, and I for one could not be happier.
[CBC country=”us” show=”y”]Buy ‘Bastille – All This Bad Blood’ from Amazon[/CBC]
[CBC country=”uk” show=”y”]Buy ‘Bastille – All This Bad Blood’ from Amazon[/CBC]
[CBC country=”au” show=”y”][/CBC]