Bastille’s swelling synthrock secured them four nominations at this year’s Brit awards (they won British breakthrough), but on this mixtape they shed some of their lush vestments. As per the title, this is the third time they’ve gone slightly left-field in the company of unexpected guests, but it’s the first to be released commercially. It could have been no more than a placeholder to sate fans as they make the follow-up to their 3m-selling debut, but, to their credit, most of the eight mashups and collaborations here feel fresh, even urgent. (A ninth track featuring Bastille alone, The Driver, is a Tears for Fearsish epic that shows how effective big communal-moment ballads can be.) Angel Haze works herself into frazzled exhaustion on the electrifying goth-electronica (really) fusion Weapon; Haim and Bastille’s Dan Smith share spectral lead vocals on a jolt of new wave called Bite Down. Generally, the quirkier the union the better; when it’s Bastille versus someone closer to their own musical mindset, such as Skunk Anansie power-rocker Skin, the result is disappointing.
Caroline Sullivan writes about rock and pop for the Guardian