20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Wild Beast’s Two Dancers by Eric Vilas-Boas
Wild Beasts impress without innovating on their latest great release Two Dancers

Wild Beasts impress without innovating on their release Two Dancers

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Wild Beast’s “All the King’s Men” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 17/20 Watts

So what’s it take to succeed in the independent music atmosphere? Do you need Jonsi Birgisson’s (Sigur Rós) falsetto? Or eccentric tribal drum beats and deep, harmonic vocals (TV on the Radio)? Maybe you just need the first few songs on Wild Beasts’ sophomore effort Two Dancers.

The album works for a reason. Because of the influences heard on it, Wild Beasts couldn’t be mistaken for anything but what they are — a talented late-2000s British indie-rock band. It succinctly represents what listeners “want to hear” in the British-American musical atmosphere.

Despite this (or because of it?), Wild Beasts have churned out an incredible set of songs with Two Dancers. The range of musicality and talent that shines through could convince any listener to appreciate the sound.

“All the King’s Men” is a great cross-section of the band’s pop-based experimentalism. Starting off with a relatively simple drum beat and guitar noodling, a deep howling voice enters to vocalize amidst tribal drums spread among the average toms and cymbals.

By the time lead singer Hayden Thorpe’s screams “Watch me, watch me!” spring in to surprise the listener, we’re a half-minute into the song, but already mesmerized by its rhythmic character. The song retains the unending deep vocalizations — and though they are a simple addition, they drive the song between the incredibly talented lead singer’s verses.

“When I’m Sleepy” again kicks off with a masterful drum beat and guitar hook. The straightforward, high-pitched lyrics, “When I’m sleepy / Eating supper / You’re the lips for me to pucker,” later repeated in the third-person, don’t really say anything special. Their beauty is in the fact that they don’t need to. The dissonant, angular guitar cutting into the atmospherics is enough to make this two-minute track amazing.

“We Still Got the Taste Dancing in Our Tongues” begins alternately, with a high-pitched vocalizing rather than the drums that come in later. Its lyrics referencing a past make-out session showcase Thorpe’s soaring ability as a vocalist, with high-pitched intonations that send chills down your spine throughout.

Two Dancers is not just successful as an album, but as a consolidation of a band’s influences. Like Radiohead before them, Wild Beasts take what works and makes it their own. They aren’t doing a lot of new things on Two Dancers — you’ll just think they are because they’re doing it so well. That’s more than an achievement for a sophomore album.

— Eric Vilas-Boas


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