Un­tamed melody

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

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

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

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