by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Wild Beasts - All the Kings Men (MP3)
Leeds, England's Wild Beasts release their second album for Domino Records, Two Dancers, in America on September 8, which is also the same day as their NYC live debut at Joe's Pub. It will be the first of
four straight three nights of shows for the band, as they play Maxwell's on Sept. 9 (note: The Maxwell's show is not happening), Mercury Lounge Sept. 10 and Union Pool on Sept. 11.
For the unfamiliar, how to describe Wild Beasts? You have to start with the vocals. Guitarist Hayden Thorpe handles the falsettos and shrieking, while bassist Tom Flemming sings those in a more normal (though no less melodramatic) range. I actually thought it was just one guy singing until I saw them live at South by Southwest this year. Like Antony or '80s act The Associates (probably the most apt, frequent comparison), those voices will probably be the dealbreaker for some, but if you've acquired this taste, or are willing to try, Wild Beasts are something else.
While it contained one of 2008's best singles, "The Devil's Crayon," the album it came from, Limbo Panto, was a bit much for me, but Two Dancers is pretty great across-the-board and easier to swallow. There's a definite debt to post-punk in Wild Beasts' sound, the delay-drenched guitar lines dance around each other in a dreamy Chameleons kind of way. The basslines slinky, the drumming is subtle yet complex. And lyrically... the falsetto somewhat obscures the fact that Wild Beasts sing almost exclusively, explicitly about "doing it." Not a lot of white British dudes could pull off the lines like "This is a booty call; my boot up your arse hole. This is a Freudian slip; my slipper in your bits" and make it work. It's one of my favorites of 2009 so far.
Tickets for the 9/8 Joe's Pub show are on sale now, and the 9/10 Mercury Lounge show goes on sale today at noon. I thought they were great at SXSW, do check out one of their shows next month You can download an MP3 of "All the King's Men" from Two Dancers at the top of this post. A couple music videos and all 2009 Wild Beast tour dates follow...
Wild Beasts - Hooting and Howling
Wild Beasts - Devil's Crayon
Wild Beasts - 2009 Tour Dates
Sep 8 Joe's Pub New York, New York
Sep 10 Mercury Lounge New York, New York
Sep 11 Union Pool Brooklyn, New York
Sep 30 Cabaret Voltaire Edinburgh
Oct 1 Cockpit Leeds
Oct 2 Bodega Nottingham
Oct 3 Thekla Bristol
Oct 4 Hare & Hounds Birmingham
Oct 5 Hanbury Ballroom Brighton
Oct 7 Academy 2 Oxford
Oct 8 Garage London
Oct 9 Academy 3 Manchester