Albums of 2009 No 3: Wild Beasts - Two Dancers

Two Dancers explored the darker side of human nature with falsetto-crooned tales of fisticuffs and sex

Who else made the top albums of 2009?

For many people, Wild Beasts' liberal use of the falsetto is a crime for which the Kendal four-piece cannot be forgiven. But considering their sophomore album came at the end of a decade in which the term "landfill indie" was invented, it's a shame that a band with such genuine flare for the eccentric are so often dismissed as being "a bit poncey".

Two Dancers explored the dark side, the Underbelly, of human nature, with tales of abuse, "fisticuffs" and ten shades of sex. Singers Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming positioned themselves as nuanced observers of the cheap and the vulgar, their fluid prose made all the more remarkable by the fact that both possess extraordinary vocal ranges (for the record, the bass notes are just as vital to the Beasts as the high ones). Meanwhile, the album quietly hinged on pattering percussion provided by Chris Talbot, giving Two Dancers a graceful, tidal groove.

These days, there's an almost unpleasant desperation to blog about the Next Big Thing, but Wild Beasts weren't on anyone's radar to make one of the year's best albums. Despite – or most probably because of – this, their ambitious, mesmerising second record was one of the few albums that didn't sound as though it was hostage to the trends and fashions of its year. One of the reasons why many of us will be swooning over Two Dancers not just now, but for years to come.


Rosie Swash

The GuardianTramp

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