By Richard Lam
Everything about Two Dancers, the muted tones of the album cover, the song titles and the music itself, is wonderfully subtle. There are no catchy hooks on this rock album, the second from British band Wild Beasts. Most of the songs drift smoothly from track to track, with little fanfare or cry for attention. Yet while there may not be any immediate standout singles, repeated listens reveal the band’s highly-disciplined musical competence.
The most versatile instrument in Wild Beasts’ arsenal is undoubtedly lead singer Hayden Thorpe’s voice. His range and pitch-perfect falsetto draws comparisons to Antony Hegarty, Thom Yorke and TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe. His voice is also tightly controlled, never overpowering the music or the lyrics. The restraint and maturity exhibited on Two Dancers is a quality normally reserved for veteran 20-year-old bands, not one releasing their second album in two years.
Each song is intricately layered with shimmering guitar instrumentation grounded by steady, driven percussion. Amongst this, the quietly clever lyrics gradually reveal themselves. “Hooting & Howling” is a near-perfect combination of words and music that sums up the band’s confidence, a simple song about defending your girl, where “any rival who goes for our girls will be left thumb sucking in terror and bereft of all coffin bearers.”