Release Date: Sep 9, 2016
Record label: Capitol
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival
Though their debut album, Bad Blood, was released in 2012 and their huge hit "Pompeii" dominated the airwaves in 2013, Bastille never really went away during the years that followed. Thanks to mixtapes like VS. and their consistent touring -- as well as their fondness for premiering songs in concert -- Wild World's arrival in 2016 felt more inevitable than surprising.
Being highly successful seems not to have figured in frontman Dan Smith’s aspirations for Bastille, whose 4m album sales have triggered ambivalence and self-doubt. Along with gloom roused by global events, his anxiety governs their second album. Though the band’s unyieldingly catchy, electro-influenced maximalism still drives most tracks – and anyone who denies that Bastille can write a hook is deluded – the album ripples with unease.
With a title as expansive as ‘Wild World’, it’d be easy to assume that Bastille’s second album is simply a reflection of life over the past few years for the band. But there’s more to it than that. Where debut ‘Bad Blood’ was built upon foundations of myth and legend, glimpses of history woven throughout the lyrics, ‘Wild World’ sets itself in the present day, dwelling in human interaction and emotion.
From a solo project formed in a bedroom in South London to global superstars, the tale of Bastille’s rise takes some beating. With the help of word of mouth – and then the addition of Chris Wood (drums), Will Farquarson (guitar) and Kyle Simmons (keyboards) – founder Dan Smith saw his sweeping anthems gradually takeover the radio one by one, as Pompeii, Flaws, Laura Palmer and Things We Lost In The Fire all made their mark. While their debut Bad Blood was greeted with a mixed response from critics, the popularity of the band’s singles meant the record was already virtually assured of success – like a summer blockbuster that is simply too big to fail.
With their muted electronic beats and rousing, arena-friendly choruses, Bastille are the archetypal modern pop band and, judging by the sales of their debut album, Bad Blood, a future headline act on Glastonbury’s main stage. The quartet’s second set is, unsurprisingly, not a million miles from their first, though this time singer and songwriter Dan Smith tackles global politics rather than growing up. The best track, The Currents, rails against Farage and Trump, its venomous riff compensating for the mundane words (“I can’t believe the scary points you make”).
It's no shock that Brit pop's new crown princes are named for a Parisian fortress: Since 2013's international hit "Pompeii," Bastille's sights have clearly been set beyond the U.K. Their second proper LP marries 20th-century rock songcraft and EDM-pop vernacular with an eye on stadium rocking and dance-floor remixes. The band can feel hampered by its populist ambition, though, which means the best stuff here moves toward the intimate.
There have been signs that Bastille was bound to make an album like Wild World. Although the London-based band is now a global phenomenon thanks to mega-hit singles like “Pompeii”, Bastille’s nascent stage was only a few years ago. During this time, singles like “Flaws” and “Icarus”—which, like “Pompeii”, later featured on Bastille’s 2013 debut Bad Blood—circulated to some minor fanfare on English radio.
We’re not sure anyone – even Bastille – could have predicted the success of their debut album, 2013’s ‘Bad Blood’. Five years ago frontman Dan Smith was a 25-year-old singer/songwriter making music from his south London bedroom. Now he’s got five million social media followers, can boast double the amount of records sold and is about to embark on his first arena tour with bandmates Woody, Kyle and Will.That feeling of not-quite-believing-their-luck has prompted Bastille to work hard, knocking out a series of mixtapes and compilation albums (the ‘Other People’s Heartache’ trilogy is the best) since the release of their debut.