I’ve been listening to Bastille’s debut album, “Bad Blood” on and off for a few months now. I’ve never been one for main stream hype, especially when it comes to music. As a rule of thumb, I tend to steer away from tracks that appear on the top of the charts. They tend to be rather generic and musically boring.
But something keeps drawing me back to a few tracks on Bastilles’ “Bad Blood”. Why is it that they keep featuring on my many different playlists?
There are a few primal instincts that we as humans find difficult to ignore, including the basic need to be part of a community. We are all born into a community of sorts; our family. You grow up learning how to act within your family’s morals and standards. Later on in life, you start to form groups with the people that share the same interests as you, and in doing so, you create a group of friends. Sure, friends come and go, but the basic concept is still there.
How does this relate to the artist on review? I believe that at least one reason why Bastille has done rather well on the charts is that they give off a sense of community in their sound. The very first track starts with a chorus of voices chanting as if they’re singing along in a pub with a beer in hand. You get the sense that the problems of one are shared by all.
Coupled with this, the percussion throughout the album has a very tribal feel to it; deep pulsing bass drums and the persistent forward movement of the beat. This gives the feel of a gathering of like minded people as well. Think about it, there are some cultures around the world that still get together around a fire while they dance and sing the night away while drinking homemade beer, and the beat of the drums is what carries them through. How is this different to a night club with the bass turned up and people dancing up a storm on the dance floor?
Now, these elements appear in the three most popular of their songs; “Pompeii”, “Bad Blood” and “Laura Palmer”, and they feature often at night clubs and on the radio. But my concern is that even during the writing of this post, I found myself turning over to a Counting Crows album. The sound starts to get a bit much. A little like eating too much chocolate; its great at the start, but you start to feel sick after a while. Its then that the 80’s throw back digital sound starts to grate your ears, and abundance of falsetto in the vocals makes your cheeks tense up like you’ve just bitten into a lemon.
So, that brings me back to where I started. Is this the beginning of a prolific career filled with chart topping albums, or is this the best of what they have to offer? There seems to be a massive movement these days in favour of the true musician, the singer song writers that spend their lives mastering their craft. People are after an artist’s true sound, rather than layers of computer generated beats and synthesizers. I am by no means saying that Bastille as a band are not talented. I’m merely pointing out that for them to really keep their roots entrenched in the music scene, they’re going to have to dig deep for their next album. I for one will be deeply disappointed if they come back with the same sound and the same tactics, because if they do, they won’t last.
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26 April 2014