UK’s Wild Beasts have been one of indie rock’s most consistent quality acts, with all three of their preceding albums being artful and finely crafted pieces. They were all known for capturing a vulnerable emotional quality in Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming’s vocals, and also a rollicking use of grooves and percussion. Their newest effort, Boy King, takes the vocal efforts up a couple notches. Tom Fleming stated that the band was getting “back to being pissed off”, and it shows. One is inclined to believe him when he tells the listener “You know that I’m the worst” during highlight “2BU”. This isn’t because it sounds bad, but because he conveys his genuine despair so well. This sort of pessimism runs rampant on the album, such as in “Alpha Female”, which is plainly about a man trembling before his dominant lover, or the references to daggers running through hearts in “Ponytail”.
Clearly, Boy King would serve as a suitable soundtrack for someone’s bad day. At the same time, however, this component can easily be ignored, and the focus can be put onto the quite danceable rhythms. The album liberally uses a mechanical style funk, along with the occasional synth driven melody. The result makes the intensity much easier to swallow, but also makes some of the tracks bleed into one another a bit too much. Overall, however, Boy King’s stylistic changes hit more often than miss, and it shows a willingness to experiment from a band that wasn’t far away from being too content with their formula.
Recommended If You Like: Warpaint, Perfume Genius, Bombay Bicycle Club, Foals
Recommended Tracks: 1, 3, 6, 8
Do Not Play: 2, 7
Written by Adam Raimond on 09/07/2016