Indie Music Hour with DJ HotJack

A regular journey around the music scene

Album Review – Two Dancers by Wild Beasts

wildbeasts_

Every so often, an album comes along that is impossible to liken with anything else. Two Dancers, the second album from experimental band Wild Beasts is such an album.

It opens with Hayden Thorpe’s typical vocal gymnastics in ‘The Fun Powder Plot’ and Antony Hegarty immediately springs to mind (Antony & The Johnsons) before Thorpe surprises by announcing “this is a booty call”. ‘Hooting & Howling’ follows and has a playful vocal tempo but still manages to retain the fragility Thorpe can display so easily. I should at this point say that I totally understand why some might not warm to Hayden Thorpe. I’ve heard it said that his falsetto is pretentious but, well, isn’t that the point of falsetto in the literal sense? Personally, I like that I never know where he is going to take me next within the medium to high vocal ranges.

‘All The Kings Men’ starts with chanting akin to a tribal ceremony before it is interrupted by a shriek and then settles into deeper vocals by Tom Fleming that bring Morrissey to mind. ‘When I’m Sleepy’ feels like a brief interlude in the album. A dream sequence that refreshes the listener for the journey ahead. ‘We Still Got The Taste Dancing On Our Tongues’ is a glorious pop song that captures the alternative 80s/90s scene that ethereal bands like This Mortal Coil occupied.

Fleming takes over again for the two-part tale that gives the album its title. These tracks take the album in a more introspective and sombre direction and don’t instantly feel like they fit but, as I’ll try to explain at the end, they definitely do belong. ‘This Is Our Lot’ maintains the mournful feel and then ‘Underbelly’ provides another short interlude before ‘The Empty Nest’ brings proceedings to an end. This final track has the feel of drunken sailors sat in a tavern telling tales of life lived to the fullest.

So, back to the point I made earlier about why the tracks all belong exactly where they are. At first you might be jerked and irritated by the change in mood experienced when you reach tracks 6 and 7 and the temptation to skip by them might even exist but please do stick with them. The reason I say that is (and I fully appreciate this could sound overly grand) the album feels very much like an opera or theatre visit. Tracks 1 to 4 take us through the first act before tracks 5 to 9 lead us through the second and it all comes together with track 10.

If I were to review individual songs without experiencing the album as a whole I would be rather less complimentary but, taken as the sum of its parts, this album truly is an intricate piece of beauty. I don’t gush about everything I listen to (far from it in fact) but I simply cannot deduct any points from this review as I cannot see how the album can be improved.

Do yourself a favour – get this album, remove all distractions and listen to it from start to finish at least twice over. I really don’t think you will regret it at all.

A flawlessly perfect 10/10 from me. An amazing piece of work.

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August 8, 2009 - Posted by | Album Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. The theatre metaphor is certainly fitting! I find the falsetto interesting as is the whole album. Or rather intruigiing since there is something that keeps me listening.

    I definitely would not buy this album but thanks to Spotify there is the option that it grows on me.

    This is an album I would listen to when I want something different and as such I might still buy it…

    Comment by juliaL49 | August 9, 2009 | Reply


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