Release Date: Nov 4, 2008
Record label: Domino
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
There have been some mighty curious double bills over the years (Blondie choosing Spearmint to accompany them as they relaunched around the turn of the century was especially surreal, and M83's forthcoming dates alongside the Kings Of Leon should prove fairly fascinating too), but three were few spectacles last year to compare with the sight of Wild Beasts opening for Jack Penate, of all people. Don't get us wrong, Penate's not without his copious charms, but, to his obvious chagrin – see his Run For Your Life for details – there's a significant element of his constituency that are most comfortable faced with lager, laddism and what we're now calling landfill indie, and, consequently, seldom has the red mist been seen to descend at a gig so swiftly as it did at the Astoria. .
Given their name, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Wild Beasts are a tough metal band. But they're actually fey British lads, working in theatrical pop with shards of post-punk and Broadway (or West End) play scores tossed in, playing the role of the new British eccentrics. That’s how it goes with Wild Beasts and their excellent debut, Limbo, Panto: Expectations and preconceptions are meant to be broken, and the band's audience meant to be left befuddled.
When it comes to creativity, the Wild Beasts have an embarrassment of riches. The band's full-length debut, Limbo, Panto, is exotic, exciting, fascinating, and forced in equal measures. "Vigil for a Fuddy Duddy" opens the album by spotlighting the most divisive, and definitive, part of the band's music: singer/guitarist Hayden Thorpe's vocals. He careens from a warbling falsetto to a suave croon to a feral growl, sounding like a hybrid of Antony Hegarty, Tiny Tim, and Mika (with shades of Tiger Lillies howler Martyn Jacques and possibly Dame Edna to boot), not just during the course of one song, but sometimes within a single syllable.