Review: Wild Beasts – Present Tense

Post (feelings of) ‘burn out’ and break, Wild Beasts’ decision to take some time out from the cycle of creating albums and relentlessly touring to facilitate recording more albums to relentlessly tour, has culminated in the soon-to-be-released Present Tense: an album they have spent the most time on, from conception to creation, to date.

It’s seems safe to say that by their fourth album, the band have further refined their ‘voice’ and that voice is one of cutting ruminations on modern society that oscillates from the political— the blend of Thorpe’s and Fleming’s voices on Daughter making, “Daughter please spare me/ An old man’s voice is screaming” even more poignant—to the personal—the rapacious sexual urges of Smother giving way to a more tender emotion. One that steps up, then steps back (“Don’t confuse me with someone who gives a fuck”).

Moving away from past set ups, Present Tense didn’t see the band working with long time collaborator Richard Formby, plumping instead in favour of Lexxx and Leo Abrahams; making the most of new production techniques and equipment. Yet Present Tense is still the most stripped back effort to date, putting those Wild Beasts kinks we’ve heard throughout, from Limbo, Panto to Smother to fuller effect in contrast with the pared back electronica.

The result is a sleek and masterful album that speaks of a band fusing experience and their established sound, whilst toying with new techniques and collaborators, for a more considered construction; a band that, eight years in, is more in control of itself now than ever.

Wild Beasts ‘Present Tense’ is released February 24th on Domino Records.

Words: Amy Lavelle