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Album Review: Bastille – Bad Blood

Album Review: Bastille – Bad Blood

Artist: Bastille
Album: Bad Blood
Release Date: 4th March 2013
Tracks: 13 (19 on Deluxe Edition)

Just when I thought that British music was on the down-and-out, Bastille show up from out of South London and restore some faith. Officially Bastille were founded by Dan Smith in 2010, taking his birthday of Bastille Day for a moniker, but since then Chris Wood, Kyle Simmons, and Will Farquarson have taken their places as band members.

Three years and an EP later Bastille release their début album Bad Blood through EMI, a commendable label to be signed to for a band still in their infancy. Three weeks after its release and the album is at number one in the UK album chart, as well as Bad Blood‘s singles ranking at number two in Britain, as well as having successful singles in Europe, namely Belgium.

It’s clear to see that Bastille’s début album has been well received by all those that have heard it, especially considering that they sold out London’s KOKO venue. But forgetting about the statistics for a moment, and let’s take a minute to talk about what Bad Blood actually sounds like.

The first track of the album: Pompeii, is arguably their most successful single to date, and deservedly so. Generally speaking, I don’t have many ‘Happy’ songs, but this is one of the few that I listen to and I can’t help but feel elated with its alarmingly catchy vocal hooks and first-rate harmonies. The song begins in four-part harmony, a beautifully organic harmony which I can’t help but feel will be one of the things that makes Bastille so great, and even though their lyrics are at times disconsolate, they are buried deep beneath the jovial front of the band. The following song is much the same. Things We Lost In the Fire, as you can imagine is not the most upbeat of songs, but with percussive hand claps and bouncy vocals, it’s easy to forget the lyrical content or sometimes. If you are finding it difficult to comprehend what it is I’m talking about, listen to Pompeii and the live version of Things We Lost In the Fire and let me know what you think of them. Interestingly, I think that the contrast between the tone of the lyrics and the tone of the music is what adds so many layers to the band, you can listen to them on any day and in any mood and take away something different; a quality rarely found in music these days.

Better yet, even though Bastille could be described as indie, or synth-pop or any other generic term of classification that established sources may wish to define them as, their sound is unique through the way that they combine genres.

On the whole, this is definitely in my top three favourite albums of 2013 so far, and whether you buy the standard or the extended edition, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend your money. Unfortunately, the extended edition is only available through iTunes whereas all other releases are available through Bastille’s website. For those of you who need help deciding, the standard edition comes with this track listing: (Highlighted are the songs I’d recommend the most)

1. “Pompeii” 3:34
2. “Things We Lost in the Fire” 4:01
3. “Bad Blood” 3:31
4. “Overjoyed” 3:25
5. “These Streets” 2:55
6. “The Weight Of Living, Part II” 2:55
7. “Icarus” 3:45
8. “Oblivion” 3:16
9. “Flaws” 3:39
10. “Daniel in the Den” 3:09
11. “Laura Palmer” 3:04
12. “Get Home // The Weight Of Living , Part I”

Whereas the extended edition comes with the additional tracks:

13. “The Silence” 3:52
14. “Laughter Lines” 4:02
15. “Bad Blood” (Live Piano Version) 3:26
16. “Things We Lost in the Fire” (Abbey Road Session) 4:00
17. “Laura Palmer” (Abbey Road Session)

If you choose to buy the album from iTunes, you’ll also be given all five of the bands videos to date, as well as a code on their website entitling you to 10% discount on all merchandise as well as a two-track live single from their gig in KOKO.

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