Bastille’s sophomore album fuses film, electric sounds

It’s been three years since the release of their debut album Bad Blood, but Bastille’s still got “it.” In fact, they’re offering up even more the second time around, releasing a total of 19 songs on the complete version of their second studio album, Wild World. Bastille reintroduces us to the same boundless energy and irresistible beats in this new indie pop record. Bad Blood’s inspiration stemmed from mythological and historical sources with hits such as “Icarus” and “Pompeii.” But with Wild World, there is an obvious shift in inspiration. This time, the focus is classic film and television. The majority of the songs contain audio samples from various obscure old films and television shows. Although many of the songs on the album include audio reminiscent from another era, the band manages to keep their own modern style.

This fusion of mediums is not unknown territory for Bastille. Their 2012 cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs” was a mash-up of The XX’s “Angels” and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The style of this song closely mirrors what Wild World has to offer—a collaboration of audio samples, synthetic tunes and upbeat choruses—all of which give the album an individual sound that is foreign to most modern indie-pop albums.

The majority of the album’s songs can be categorized as EDM, featuring a variety of beats that all happen collaboratively. Although the sound is distinctive, the album could benefit from more variation between tracks.

Bastille’s sound has predominantly involved upbeat tunes alongside lead singer Dan Smith’s belting vocals. Bad Blood has more variety in songs in addition to less synthesized notes, whereas Wild World seems to be an attempt to try new styles with synthesizers and drum machines—but that doesn’t make the album more difficult to listen to. In fact, Wild World is really just an extension of Bastille’s talent.

The album opens with “Good Grief,” a single that was released earlier this summer. The euphoric song about the ups and downs of grief is equal to Bad Blood’s “Pompeii,” which played on radio stations everywhere and became the band’s breakout song. “Good Grief” is catchy and fun, and can be played on repeat without tire.

“Way Beyond” directs attention to the way our world looks at global crises. As the only explicit song on the album, the track negatively observes our reaction to problems around the world. Smith sings, “It only matters if we care now/If you’re way beyond that/Then I’m gonna dust you off of my shoulders.”

“Send Them Off!” begins with a fabricated line based on the Italian sci-fi film War of the Planets and is followed by a brass riff, almost as a “call to arms” as Smith describes it. “Send Them Off!” speaks of irrational jealousy, and Smith calls for someone to “exorcise” his mind of unwanted jealous feelings.

“Oil and Water” and “Two Evils” are a much-needed break from the previous upbeat electronica. “Oil and Water” is slow and relaxed, while “Two Evils” is the most stripped down song on the album, featuring only lead singer Smith and guitarist Will Farquarson. If anything, the album would benefit from more soulful and intense tracks like these.

Regardless of the consistent—and somewhat repetitive—style of the songs, what makes Wild World stand out is that it offers a different point of view on the topics it covers. Bastille doesn’t like to hit you in the face with their point—they want you to search for it. The layers that make up each song command more than just a simple listen, which makes the album worth listening to more than once.