OYL is our reflection on past artists we've picked for filming, and how those acts have grown or changed in the year since we first captured them on camera.
Wild Beasts play music that is entirely their own. Not many acts can say they have a truly, madly original sound, and many of them claim the excellent Domino Records as their home base (Animal Collective and The Dirty Projectors to name a few). When we filmed the band, they were coming off of a successful year of touring on Two Dancers
, their sophomore record. But before that, they had their backs against the wall, running out of money and hope of continuing their full-time musicianship.
Why film them? The idea was fueled (as usual) by our admiration for their work. But the show still speaks for itself... despite the vapid lighting of Mercury Lounge and the off-the-wall songs of the band, the entire experience is still something we can't help but revisit over and over.
When I spoke to Hayden Thorpe and Chris Talbot at Lollapalooza a few weeks ago, they were just finishing up 18 months of touring on Two Dancers
. "An album made in the face of adversity... made for all the right reasons" Hayden told me. "That's why it still feels good". Despite the pratfalls of having almost no money at the start of it, the band refused to deviate from their creative plan, and thank goodness. Two Dancers
is a definitive collection of songs for the band; exquisitely subtle, and charmingly odd. Perhaps you hear their near-final pleas in between the many quotable lines, "watch me/watch me/the belle of the ball". Who says that? In a screeching falsetto no less? And has us singing along?
Hayden finished his thought, "but equally, we've outgrown that skin". As much as Two Dancers
is true to the band's inspiration and intention, it's time to move on, and they know it. "We've got a few ideas running about. In mid September we're going to go straight into rehearsals... we want to release the record by Christmas." Of course this may be a bit of an exaggeration, especially for a band who cycles through four or five versions of each song before finalizing them. But it's exciting to hear a new Wild Beasts record could be in our hands in about three or four months.
What to expect from Wild Beasts in the future? Mapping out their trajectory isn't at the top of the to-do list, according to Hayden. They are just trying to stay true to their vision. "You can't design your career." He said. "We make music for ourselves, as a sort of antidote. It's a lucky job... if you feel a certain way you can make a song to remedy that."
Wild Beasts at The Mercury Lounge (9.10.09)
Album Review: Two Dancers