So what change has moving to hipster London made to the Wild Beasts sound? Well, on third album they’re as eccentric as ever, if a little more sombre. If they feel free to be different it’s because of the faith Domino placed in them as 21-year-olds, they
SOME MIGHT call it “peculiar”. Others “different”. And those with a less diplomatic manner might say it’s plain weird. Whatever way you put it, the music that Wild Beasts make is far from ordinary. Yet unlike many bands who spend their careers practising a studied eccentricity, the Cumbrian band’s distinctive indie marks them out as one of the most unique British bands in operation.
Such lofty claims are cemented by their third album, Smother. A more sombre affair than the rambunctious playfulness of their 2008 debut Limbo, Panto, and its Mercury Prize-nominated follow-up Two Dancers, the album showcases a new style for Wild Beasts as they tentatively poke at the possibilities a four-piece band can realise.
Co-vocalists Tom Fleming and Hayden Thorpe – the creative partnership that has driven the band since they formed as teenagers in their Lake District hometown – are on a flying visit to Dublin.
“This album is very much a gathering-in of different stuff – trying to shed that on-tour craziness, being away from home and trying to keep it personal,” says Fleming, the widegrinning, open foil to Thorpe’s slightly guarded, pensive persona. “The writing period took about six weeks, and by the fifth week we were just twiddling our thumbs and trying not to touch it. We were just desperate to be in the studio at that point.”
“We were away touring for two years, and we weren’t creative together for 18 months because of that,” nods Thorpe. “We’re very protective and insular about songs, and didn’t really want to expose them to the brutality and the transitory nature of being on tour, really. We have to be in a more levelheaded and energised state to give songs the attention they need. So there were fragments of ideas put together, and that ultimately meant that we worked more quickly, because we just had to go with gut instinct and faith.”
This time around that faith was bolstered