Second albums are always a tough nut to crack. This year, we have seen promising British collectives take three distinct routes: Catfish And The Bottlemen kept to what they knew, leaving a record (The Ride) that feels like an unremarkable extended edition of your first work; The 1975 found more success by going along a path so extravagant, even in album titles, that it ran the real risk of alienating listeners. With the long-awaited Wild World, Bastille managed the perfect balance between the two.
‘Good Grief,’ its terrific lead single and opening track, explodes into life, questioning, “So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?” The answer: a little bit of everything. Dan Smith and co. present a diverse range of music across its 14 tracks, spanning a whole heap of genres and themes and with every song just as listenable as the last. Wild World brings rock, R&B, and soulful melodies, all melted together into a record that you can feast your ears on for hours. Each of its offerings tells a different story, projecting relatable emotions straight into the ear of anxiety, power struggle, and, of course, love.
Ultimately, Wild World‘s real success is its ability to summarise the disorientating disaster of 2016 within its wider context. Released in September, when the shocks of Brexit were receding but the horrors of Trump were yet to fully exhibit themselves, Bastille’s tracks tap into the hysteria and anxieties for the future, especially held by the younger generations. ‘Warmth,’ my favourite track on the record, howls,, “Hold me in this wild, wild world / ’cause in this warmth I forget how cold it can be.” It’s been a cold year, and there is no album quite as prepared as Bastille’s to help you through.
Wild World was released on September 9th by Virgin Records