Present Tense - DOMINO
FILTER Grade: 84%
By Zachary Sniderman on February 25, 2014
There is an odd, strange and lovely quality to Wild Beasts. Whether it is the siren-like slide of Tom Fleming’s lofty, lilting voice or the aquatic, submerged bubble of Hayden Thorpe’s, the band’s sound is built on harmonies, inconsistencies and complex song patterns. Present Tense is Wild Beasts’ fourth album in just six years and marks a broader, slower step in their catalog of music. The band, made up of four friends from Kendal, England, have dropped their dance beats in favor of songs that pulse without plodding. Lead single and track-starter “Wanderlust” reaches a late-song high of electronic strings that somehow make the lyric “don’t confuse me for someone who gives a fuck” sound more sad than acidic. Much of the album manages that balance, both emotionally charged and hopeless. “Sweet Spot” highlights what makes Wild Beasts special for their unexpected shifts in tone, timbre and lyricism. Not everything on Present Tense is a success, but the highs are truly high, even when they’re sad.