Wild Beasts: Smother – review


Wild Beasts have never been obvious. In 2008, Limbo, Panto unveiled Hayden Thorpe's extraordinary countertenor and songs with titles such as Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants were never likely to trouble Radio 1. The follow-up, Two Dancers, managed to receive a Mercury nomination, even with its operatic-graphic descriptions of "dancing cocks". Their third album ditches their old Associates/Roxy/Sparks guitar sound in favour of rolling grooves of electronica and percussion more akin to Antony and the Johnsons gone Talk Talk. Smother isn't immediate, but gradually emerges to be a thing of extraordinary beauty, containing dreamlike adventures of lust and longing. Thorpe remains risque – there are lines such as "I take you in my mouth like a lion takes his prey" and "Take off your chemise, I'll do as I please" – but mostly the sexuality is understated. The smouldering tension in closer End Come Too Soon (about premature ejaculation, presumably) is unbearable, but stunning. Smother isn't conventional chart material, but will make their burgeoning cult impossible to ignore.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Wild Beasts: Two Dancers | CD review

Preposterous, camp and at times boldly original - Wild Beasts leave Alexis Petridis squealing for less

Alexis Petridis

30, Jul, 2009 @11:01 PM

Wild Beasts: Smother – review
Wild Beasts fine-tune a winning formula on their atmospheric third album, writes Ally Carnwath

Ally Carnwath

07, May, 2011 @11:05 PM

Article image
Sex obsessed and scrupulously polite: Wild Beasts interview
Scrupulously polite, overtly literary and obsessed with sex – Wild Beasts are not your average indie band, but their cult is growing fast. Caroline Sullivan met them

Caroline Sullivan

05, May, 2011 @10:00 PM

Article image
Wild Beasts – Smother: album stream

Rosie Swash: Wild Beasts' third album picks up where Two Dancers left off, with songs of love, longing and wanton lust

Rosie Swash

03, May, 2011 @11:29 AM

Article image
Wild Beasts: Present Tense – review
Wild Beasts are still revelling in their idiosyncrasies, but this time they've honed those weird flourishes to perfection, writes Rebecca Nicholson

Rebecca Nicholson

20, Feb, 2014 @9:00 PM

Article image
Readers' reviews: Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Wild Beasts, 1970s Soviet TV
The best of your comments on the latest film and music, compiled by Michael Hann

Michael Hann

12, May, 2011 @8:50 PM

Wild Beasts | Pop review

Garage, London: Literate, sex-laden songs and copious yelping were the Leeds band's formula for success, writes Caroline Sullivan

Caroline Sullivan

12, Oct, 2009 @9:45 PM

Wild Beasts: Two Dancers | CD review

The Cumbrian quartet's second album is a wonderful revival of indie rock's once staple values of wit and intellect, says Gareth Grundy

Gareth Grundy

01, Aug, 2009 @11:01 PM

Pop preview: Wild Beasts, on tour

The Arches, Glasgow, Tue; Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Wed; Cockpit, Leeds, Thu; The Bodega, Nottingham, Fri

John Robinson

25, Sep, 2009 @11:01 PM

Article image
Wild Beasts review – heart-racing, poignant farewell from indie originals
This glorious final gig by the fearless Cumbrians almost makes you wish bands would break up more often

Laura Snapes

18, Feb, 2018 @1:38 PM