Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Bastille perfectly encapsulates the “Wild World” we live in

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It’s been over three years since British indie pop band Bastille released its hugely successful debut album, “Bad Blood.” And on a planet that’s getting more chaotic every day, there couldn’t have been a better time for the band’s follow up, “Wild World,” to arrive.

The “Standard” and “Complete” editions of their sophomore album dropped on Sept. 9 to much anticipation, and they didn’t disappoint. Bastille has perfectly encapsulated the wild world we live in through brilliant, apocalyptic pop songs that leave you unsure whether the group is hinting at the end of the world or the beginning of something new.

These four British boys are musical masters of storytelling, often choosing to portray other people’s fictional stories from myths and movies throughout a single song or entire album. “Wild World” though, takes a turn, with the band now using its platform to provide socio-political commentary on the state of the world today. Lyrics such as “I can’t quite believe my ears” never ring more true.

Throughout the run-up to the album’s release, it was widely promoted that “Wild World” was going to take Bastille in a new, heavier direction. So, when lead single and album opener “Good Grief” offered the same euphoric pop and depressing lyricism typical of a successful Bastille song, it left fans wondering if “Wild World” was just going to be “Bad Blood” 2.0.

However, with the context of the full album, it is clear that “Good Grief” is one of only a few tracks that offer the familiarity of the “Bad Blood” era, as the band’s goal to switch up its sound is evident from the second track onwards.

“The Currents” seamlessly mixes heavy bass and guitar riffs with strings in a way that evokes suspense. Coupled with lead singer Dan Smith’s lyrics—which comment on the ignorance of politicians and power of the media—it ends up being one of the most honest and raw songs on the album.

Bastille continues to draw upon this theme throughout the album, with songs such as “Power” and “Way Beyond,” exploring how modern life is dangerously controlled by the media and powerful politicians. Lyrics like “Cause if we don’t post it does it happen?” hit a little too close to home.

The turmoil of our political landscape, expressed so directly in these songs, is also interspersed throughout the album with samples from old science fiction films such as “Weird Science.” Used frequently and ringing very true to modern life, these samples perhaps show how crazy our current reality is, and that it is actually mirroring old fiction.

Ultimately, it proves that Bastille can still easily mold movie and music magic together outside of its earlier, film score-based “Other People’s Heartache” mixtapes.

However, we’re also frequently reminded throughout the album that the world isn’t always as scary as it seems. Songs such as “An Act of Kindness,” “Warmth” and “The Anchor” are much needed interludes, reminding the listener that they’re not always lost and alone, and that there will constantly be personal moments of happiness amongst the chaos.

“An Act of Kindness” is arguably the most surprising track on “Wild World.” Beginning as a seemingly emotional piano ballad, the beat suddenly drops about a minute in, and the song evolves into layers of transcendent electronic brilliance with Smith’s infamous broken vocals, repeated lyrics and extended vowels.

One of the more special songs on “Wild World” is “Two Evils,” a rare moment in which the band scales back their usually huge sound to just Dan Smith’s haunting vocals and Will Farquarson’s melancholy guitar. As such a beautiful contrast from the chaos the album tries to convey, it’s a shame there aren’t more moments like it on the album.

“Wild World” has few weaknesses as a whole, but for an album that’s been hyped up to be different from its predecessor, it still remains relatively nestled in the sound that Bastille is known for. However, it does contain some exciting bursts of a new direction that leaves you hoping there won’t be such a long wait for the group’s next album.

In sticking with the same producer, Mark Crew, and utilizing Smith’s excellent songwriting, Bastille has successfully combined the best of their last studio album and three previous mixtapes.

With the introduction of guitars into their sound, and dark socio-political undertones that can evoke emotional responses from listeners, Bastille has ultimately created its best piece of work yet, one that couldn’t have been more appropriate in 2016.

Lucy Bradshaw can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @lucyholly_

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