Wild Beasts are a band that have never been shy of singing about sex. Much like the great Romantics before them, they have previously delivered a frank and beautiful take on the sordid business of promiscuity and lust. However, on Smother we see Wild Beasts incorporate not only Percy Shelley’s work, but Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein too. With lead singers Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming playing the part of Dr. Frankenstein, the band explore and uncover all the monsters within on this record.
Whilst you shouldn’t expect anything radically different from Wild Beasts in Smother (not that this is a bad thing), there is a variation in terms of musical energy. Whereas previous album Two Dancers had an intense energy about it, in Smother the band seem to take a much more relaxed approach, with the album even sounding ambient in parts.
Lead single ‘Albatross’ is a definite indicator of the direction the band are taking; the elements that have come to define Wild Beasts are still there, but on this track these are much more subtly crafted. “Don’t feel bad don’t upend/It’s my neck around which you hang/Like a chain or a tag/I flinch and you fall through the cracks”, sings Thorpe in his beautifully nuanced falsetto over Ben Little’s delicate guitar and Chris Talbot’s syncopated drumbeat.
Smother is an album that expands upon the Wild Beasts signature approach. Assimilating frailty with hedonism, they deliver an album that, much like its subject matter, leaves you yearning for more.