With a sold-out tour ahead, and the single Pompeii straight on to this week's charts at No 2, everything seems set fair for Dan Smith, the creative heart of Bastille. By bolting on the merest hint of dance beats to his absolutely conventional, mildly melancholic piano ballads (descending chord sequences, the internationally recognised signifier of mild melancholy, abound), he has spruced up the formula that has dominated mainstream pop-rock for more than a decade. That said, it's hard to work out why these songs have made a greater connection than those of a hundred like-minded songwriters. Presumably, the likes of Overjoyed, which combines those descending piano chords with the most mild-mannered take on UK bass music imaginable, offer the sensation of currency without the confrontation actual bass music provides. Mind you, there's occasional unintentional amusement in the lyrics: Oblivion sees him gazing at a sleeping lover, then asking "Are you going to age with grace?" Which, as sensible questions to ask a lover, ranks up there with: have you put on a bit of weight recently?
Michael Hann is a freelance writer, and former music editor of the Guardian