Bad Blood is the long awaited debut album by Bastille. Recorded in a box-sized studio and held away from the public for months and months it has finally been perfected and it has emerged for us all to enjoy. Lead singer Dan Smith explains what he intended to create with the album: “I wanted to off-set epic sounding instrumentation with lyrics that combine intimate stories or conversation. The contrast was something that appealed to me.” This pretty much sums up the album for me as the juxtaposition is fantastically executed throughout.
As Dan said in an interview with The Edge recently, it’s difficult to choose a ‘twelve track impression’ of what you’re trying to achieve, and then to give this to the world. However, the twelve tracks on Bad Blood perfectly demonstrate what Bastille represent; it is diverse, epic and beautiful, all at once. The album opens with the band’s latest single ‘Pompeii’ throwing the listener straight into the world of Bastille. The track is epic and laced with the now famous line, “how am I going to be an optimist about this?” you’ll be singing along in no time. ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ has always been a live favourite and has thankfully made it onto the album. It’s slow start, just Dan’s voice and piano accompaniment, soon turns into a chorus screaming out for a sing-along. The album’s title song is next, ‘Bad Blood’ leading into ‘Overjoyed’: a track that demonstrates the softer, calmer side of Bastille. Also one that is extremely popular in the live setting, and is often the first track people associate with the band. The electronic drum beat paired with the vocal harmonies of the group show their diversity and ability to capture the listener so minimally.
‘These Streets’ and ‘Weight of Living PT.II’ are tracks that I’d only ever heard a few times prior to the album and now after multiple listens of the perfected versions they definitely live up to the high standards set by other tracks. ‘These Streets’ is a wonderfully upbeat, incredibly catchy track; a highlight on the record. ‘Weight of Living PT.II’, you may have heard on the FIFA ’13 soundtrack, is another fast-paced track with a constant drum beat topped with brilliant layers and a catchy chorus sang out by the beautiful vocals of Dan Smith fit with a casual “ohh” preceding it. It’s a track that captures the eagerness of wanting to grow up but then the fear that life is going too quickly.
A band that can successfully sing about mythology is in my eyes one that stands apart from the rest. ‘Icarus’ is a strong contender as one of Bastille’s best songs, as even after the fiftieth listen it is still as epically fantastic as the first time. Dan tells the well known tale of Icarus and his hedonism. The opening humming and drum beat sends shivers down the spine and feels as though it could have easily just stepped off the soundtrack of Troy, the album version sets it apart from previously heard recordings of the track. It’s stunning. ‘Oblivion’ is next. The track tells of an intimate moment in which someone is telling their passed out friend that “however hard they try, they can never manage to follow them to whatever level of inebriated escape they manage to get to.”
‘Daniel in the Den’ is another new track which is simple yet immediately encapsulating. The chorus demonstrate Bastille’s competency when it comes to harmonies, something they have become known for. Next is another contender for my favourite Bastille song, ‘Laura Palmer’. Upon recently becoming obsessed with David Lynch’s 90s TV series Twin Peaks this song is all the more appealing. Again, the track has been perfected in the studio and the ‘heartbeat’ through out keeps up the pace. Dan sings about the show’s main focus, Laura Palmer, with lyrics that are brilliantly infused with the show’s influence. The album finishes on ‘Get Home’. Again showing off the brilliant harmonies this track is awesome. However, I must admit, it was always one that I would brush over on the album but now I’ve given it the time of day it deserves, I can understand why it made the cut. Again, it’s minimal and Dan’s vocals steal the show.
Overall I don’t think I could paint a prettier picture than the one I have offered above, but if there’s anything you decide to do on March 4th it should be to buy Bad Blood. You will not be disappointed. An exceedingly gratifying debut which should not be missed.