Review: Bastille – ‘Fake It’

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A conundrum

While definitely the darker Bastille I requested in my last review, I struggle to like it anywhere near as much as 'Good Grief.'

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Bastille has always been iconic for having a darkness that other indie pop bands can’t seem to pinpoint. From their popular hits (‘Icarus,’ ‘Of The Night’) to more obscure B-sides and album tracks (see the chilling ‘Tuning Out…,’ All This Bad Blood‘s closing cover of ‘O Holy Night’), fans love the way Dan Smith and his band manage to connect with the darkest, most painful, and therefore most human of emotions. From loneliness to grief, longing to despair, to the deepest, darkest corners of obsessive love.

Good Grief,’ the first single from upcoming second album Wild World, moves away from that darkness. It’s about the confusion and hysterics of grief, defined by funky baselines and loud handclaps, lending a far more poppy experience than what we are accustomed to from the band. Though undeniably a great song, it makes me nervous for the sound of this new album, and whether Bastille could truly reach the dark depths that made their first album so great.

‘Fake It’ brings a light of hope. In fact, it’s one of the darkest cuts I can recall from Bastille. Stripped away are the pop beats of ‘Good Grief,’ replaced with understated R&B tones that are a new sound for the band. This builds into a chorus that swells with the seriousness of hopeless love, thudding with deep drumbeats and sombre moanings from Smith’s voice, which is, as ever, on point. In fact, the only link to ‘Good Grief’ is the brief snippet from a film used to open the song.

Is it a success? It’s certainly Bastille, epitomising their darker side. The chorus is good, and would work very well on the soundtrack of Stranger Things, Netflix’s new indie horror thriller. But the rest is forgettable. I struggle to find a way of describing it as either good or bad. Though ‘Good Grief’ captures less of Bastille’s essence, it is far more of an enjoyable listen than ‘Fake It.’ Perhaps it would be better hidden away in the depths of Wild World, as it is almost too dark to appeal to the mainstream music audience as a single.

‘Fake It’ is out now via Virgin Records

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Editor of The Edge. Previously Culture Editor (2016-17). Sporadic writer for the Wessex Scene, DJ on Surge, known photobomber of SUSUtv's videos. Bad habits include Netflix, not doing my work and drinking too much tea.

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