Bio: Limbo, Panto is the debut album by Wild Beasts. A cursory glance at the record's tracklisting: Vigil For A Fuddy Duddy, The Old Dog, Cheerio Chaps, will quickly inform ... (more)
Bio: Limbo, Panto is the debut album by Wild Beasts. A cursory glance at the record's tracklisting: Vigil For A Fuddy Duddy, The Old Dog, Cheerio Chaps, will quickly inform you of the band's distinct personality. The title alone gives notice that, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, as soon as you press play you are leaving the workaday world of skinny jeans and third-from-the-top-of-the-bill-festival-chorus-structures and entering a new, quite strange and highly individual environment. One listen to the record will leave you confounded, enchanted, perhaps confused. One thing is certain; you won't hear a record or a band like this at any other time this year.
Limbo. Panto is a fairground ride through these young men's giddy perspective. It includes words and phrases like conundrum, brylcreem, 'win the big match' and 'casual sex with a hard up thug'. Singer Hayden Thorpe's voice veers between a falsetto and a primal yelp. He often sounds like he's using his vocal register to vent an emotional frustration; the result is a confident vulnerability and that rarest of things, a genuine sense of charm. Now with an average age of twenty-one Wild Beasts started when they were just eighteen. The band deliberately sought to distance themselves from what they assumed was the norm. Recalling their formative years Thorpe confirms their distinct sense of identity: "We're lucky we worked really hard and made a conscious effort to be a as individual as we could. It came out of a boredom and lack of interest in beer and testosterone rock. It concentrated us like a fruit". Shimmering and widescreen Limbo, Panto is a confident record brimming with the band's sense of purpose. According to Thorpe: "We sit down and know what we’ll sound like, it's unconscious now." How to describe that sound? Produced in Malmo by Tore Johansson It sounds utterly unique, full of space, almost perplexingly accessible. At times it sounds like a 1930s Palm Court Orchestra's idea of what a happening is going to sound like - The Old Dog, She Purred, While I Grrred. Elsewhere, on The Devil's Crayon sung by bassist Tom Fleming in his rich, wistful tenor the band come up with a kind of English road trip music.
The band, now based in Leeds, originally hail from Kendal. Growing up the band were well aware of their surroundings. Thorpe reflects: "There was a definite sense of isolation. We never got rapt up in any scene and we've never been validated”. As much as reflect the Lake District landscape, the songs on Limbo, Panto suggest an environment where Philip Larkin and Noel Coward might playfully argue the merits of trouser length as a metaphor before measuring their own. Thorpe confirms the band are well aware they are operating on their terms: "The openness and humour is part of the music's strength and is its greatest vulnerability." Wild Beasts are an extremely rare proposition, a band happy to stand or fall on their own terms letting their muse be their wayward guide. Undeniable and refreshing let them seep out of the limestone and into your consciousness by, to quote Brave, Bulging Clairvoyants: "Adopting this young spirit of sin / to make the most, before we turn to ghost."