Wild Beasts at Lincoln Hall | Concert preview
Musing on the selfishness and cruelty of relationships, Wild Beasts effortlessly guide the listener through the terrain of longing.
One might argue that Wild Beasts’ initial reluctance to leave the rolling meadows of its native Kendal, a northern city of fewer than 50,000 residents nestled in England’s Lake District, helped preserve the uniqueness of its sound. Anchored by the extraordinarily agile and fluttering falsetto of pack leader Hayden Thorpe, Wild Beasts’ agitated and intoxicating poetry-pop sidesteps the more predictable pastiches of London’s postpunk dance bands.
Yet the group’s decision to move to the Big Smoke’s ultra-hip Dalston neighborhood to write its third album, Smother, hasn’t had any ill effects. Inspired by Frankenstein, Hamlet and the writings of Brazilian feminist Clarice Lispector, Smother laces introspective musings on desire and hedonism between shimmering guitars and chiming reverb. It’s Wild Beasts’ most enchanting record to date.
Fierce-eyed Thorpe doesn’t shrink from sinking his teeth into issues of intimacy and masculine identity. Since the frank tackling of sex on 2008’s debut album Limbo, Panto’s “She Purred, While I Grrred,” the 26-year-old has had a no-holds-barred approach to airing the innermost depths of his desires. Whether Thorpe’s taking a lover in his mouth “like a lion takes his game” on “Lion’s Share” or musing on the inherent selfishness and cruelty of relationships, Wild Beasts effortlessly guide the listener through the terrain of longing.