This is album number four for Wild Beasts and this time they have absolutely nailed it.
Present Tense doesn’t grab you by the collar - it lures you, invites you in cautiously and then, once it’s got you, it won’t let go.
Built around the rich coupling of Hayden Thorpe’s sweet high register vocals and Tom Fleming’s full-bodied low, and backed by pulsing, dark electronic washes and shimmering sprinkles of sonic fairy dust, Wild Beasts create a languorous, slowly sweeping world of strange songs about dying dogs, WWE wrestlers and the beauty of all things normal.
Lyrically, they have an uncanny knack for taking something plain and dry and making it into something beautiful and moist.
They sing of sweet spots, nature boys, mecca and simple beautiful truths and they do it with that conflicting blend of complete detachment and deeply personal introspection mined by the likes of the Cure and Radiohead.
This is an album that needs to be listened to at least twice straight up - it’s so carefully arranged and stripped down that first listen can just breeze quietly by without attracting any attention.
Second time around, though, and it unfurls like a blooming flower, its flickering beats, lustrous soundscapes and ethereal melodies absorbing your attention completely.
A genuinely great work.
Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.