Wild Beasts roar into the present

The Wild Beasts. Photo: PA Photo/Klaus Thymann
The Wild Beasts. Photo: PA Photo/Klaus Thymann

Wild Beasts couldn’t be from anywhere else but Britain. You only have to listen to a few notes of their music to realise as much. The places they namecheck in their lyrics and the eclectic nature of their songs give them away.

Few bands would mention Shipley, Hounslow and Whitby in a whole career, let alone in one song, as the Kendal four-piece did in their breakthrough single All The King’s Men.

The accent with which singers Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming deliver those lyrics are defiantly English, too.

In a musical landscape increasingly populated by mid-Atlantic twangs, no matter the origin of the singer, the band stand out now even more than they did when they released their debut album Limbo, Panto, back in 2008.

It shouldn’t be such a big deal, but what started out as merely the way they did things has, as their career’s progressed, become something of a talking point. Wanderlust, the first single from their new album Present Tense, even deals with the subject.

Fleming says Wild Beasts sticking firm with their nationality works for and against them, depending on where they are. And this week they are playing at the Arches in Glasgow.

If the band is to succeed, Present Tense is certainly the best chance yet. While their first three were written and recorded in relatively short succession with mammoth tours in between, they decided to take a break before starting work on Present Tense.

They worked out that they had enough money to live for a year and concentrate on writing.

Conscious that the time off meant that whatever the album was to become, it had to be, in Fleming’s words, “an aesthetic turning point”. He adds: “There was pressure, self-imposed, to make something different.”