Wild Beasts - Two Dancers (Domino)
On the right track...
The English four-piece have wasted little time following up their acclaimed, if little heard, debut Limbo, Panto.
Hayden Thorpe's falsetto is still very much at large — and as likely to polarise opinion as ever.
As distinctive in its own right as Antony Hegarty's astonishing voice — and there is at least one song here that recalls Antony — it's most definitely an acquired taste.
For those who can live with it, there are plenty of riches here, not least the barmy lead single Hooting & Howling, which in its oddball, everything-and-the-kitchen sink approach is quite unlike any other song you will hear this year. Rewarding repeat listening, it's a sign of the band's keenness to try different things. In this age of identikit, landfill indie, that's a very good thing.
Elsewhere, there's a lushness to the sound that updates a previous debt to The Smiths. That slight change in direction is best appreciated on the This Is Our Lot — a doomed, romantic, melodramatic number whose stately atmosphere is offset by chiming guitars. Morrissey would certainly approve.
While Thorpe's voice may characterise this album, Wild Beasts are blessed with another vocalist — bassist Tom Flemming — whose far stauncher, more conventional singing style takes the lead on four out of 10 songs, including the album's most immediate number All the King's Men. It's a swaggering, glam-oriented anthem that shows this band can do commercial when they want to.