Monday 4 March 2013

Bastille // Bad Blood, Album Review

Yesterday Bastille’s latest single “Pompeii” charted at number two in the charts, beaten only by Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors”, and today marks the release of the much anticipated debut album “Bad Blood”. A busy week for the London quartet who are currently on a sell out UK tour.  

What started out as a solo project by Dan Smith [who was born on the French Bastille Day, hence the name] has now turned into a four-piece full live band. Want to know what we thought of Bastille’s debut offering? Click below…

Bastille's Dan Smith
“Bad Blood” opens with current single “Pompeii”; echoic and grand with multi layered vocals and heavy drum beats in quintessential Bastille style; it perfectly sets the tone for the album. Est.1987 caught up with Dan last year and speaking of the album he said, “Hopefully it’ll sound cohesive; but I also want it to sound a little bit all over the place. It will be nice to have an album that feels like a collection of quite sporadic songs that all work and sit alongside each other.” And indeed, “Bad Blood” takes us on a musical journey; each song a beautiful vignette diversely ranging from the biblical “Daniel in the Den” with its perfectly crafted rise and fall of tempo, to the classical “Icarus”, its stripped back opening leading to a percussive building chorus.

Bold and electric throughout, even slower songs possess an uplifting quality. The piano focussed “Oblivion”, the perfect example; it is graceful and effortlessly shows off lead singer Dan’s impressive vocal range. With Dan a self confessed control freak it is no wonder then that each song’s intricacies are perfectly arranged, whether that be on the instrumentally eclectic “These Streets” or the heavier, darker title track “Bad Blood”. The layering of vocals and infectious melodies ensure the band’s debut is mesmerising. Their live show only backs this up further; the very fact that the entire tour is a sell out is testament to the band’s musicianship and stage presence. Album tracks such as “Weight of Living Pt II” hold their own against fan favourites such as the emotive and electronic infused “Flaws”, making “Bad Blood” a captivating musical statement and an ambitious first album.   

The stripped back, vocally dynamic “Get Home” signs off the album, the haunting track is the perfect ending. A huge underground following has made Bastille the UK worst kept secret; word of mouth has seen their fan base grow and grow even before the album release, and quite rightly so. Bastille’s “Bad Blood” is only the beginning.

The UK tour is sold out but click HERE for all future tour dates.

Click HERE to read an interview and live review on Bastille's 2012 tour

Listen to "Bad Blood" in full at one of their online 'screenings' of the album, with accompanying visuals. Book a screening and then watch and listen in the ruined old cinema -