CD: Wild Beasts, Limbo, Panto

4 stars (Domino)

Wild Beasts are that dread creature, the all-male guitar band, average age 21. Yet they are as like to the standard all-male guitar band as a peacock to a warthog. Limbo, Panto is an outrageously ostentatious album: think the lascivious court of Charles II, Victorian opium dens, 1930s cabaret, the Tiger Lillies' musical Shockheaded Peter and the New York club Studio 54 at its disco peak, and you'll get the flavour of their keeling theatricality. Though they sing of such laddish preoccupations as sex (Vigil for a Fuddy Duddy), booze (Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants) and footie (Woebegone Wanderers), it's in a language - musical and verbal - as fiery and kaleidoscopic as a catherine wheel. Dominating proceedings is Hayden Thorpe's sordid falsetto. He's been compared with Antony Hegarty, but he's not that graceful, and whenever the album strives for melancholy stateliness it falls flat. But for every failure there is a song of such coruscating originality, it sends you reeling.


Maddy Costa

The GuardianTramp

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