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Editorial Reviews

Wild Beasts release their third full length, entitled Smother. Their 2009 album Two Dancers was critically acclaimed and even earned them a nomination in the prestigious Mercury Awards. A year and a half later, Smother reveals a much more mature band. They've kept their distinct sound intact: oscillating falsetto and baritone vocals, lyrical wit, and a penchant for seedier topics. However, this album incorporates rich electronic textures and a subtlety of melody not heard in their earlier work. Wild Beasts fans will not be disappointed.

1. Lion s Share
2. Bed of Nails
3. Deeper
4. Loop the Loop
5. Plaything
6. Invisible
7. Albatross
8. Reach A Bit Further
9. Burning
10. End Come Too Soon

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 10, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino
  • ASIN: B004QSQM72
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,610 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S.G.R. Black on May 10, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I must say, my expectations for "Smother," Wild Beasts' third album in merely three years, was pretty high. "Two Dancers" was such a triumph for the band. They had grown up so much since "Limbo, Panto," which was such a testosterone filled wet dream (albeit a good one!). "Two Dancers" seamlessly infused the band's love of lyrically sexual themes and creative dreamscapes. I still regard their sophomore effort to be one of the best and most significant albums of the past ten years! It simply changed my musical life. However, nothing prepared me for another shot at greatness. 'Smother' rendered me, well, smothered in the best sense one can possibly mean. I'm confident in saying this is album of the year material. Sorry PJ Harvey, you'll have to make some room. '

"Smother" is aptly titled. There are so many layers of rich and complex elements to this album, it's quite a challenge for one not to be overwhelmed by its sheer beauty. Hayden Thorpe's wildly popular falsetto is balanced by Tom Fleming's deep sensual croon. Each has their chance to shine, and at times they are playing off one another to dazzling effect ('Reach A Bit Further'). "Lion's Share" is a fantastic opener. A deep pulsing synth radiates as Thorpe's vocals creep in as if he's singing directly into your ear. Lion's share is an idiomatic expression meaning the lion takes all. So in natural Wild Beasts fashion, Thorpe is conquering his love, "I take you in my mouth like a lion takes his game."It's perhaps the band's first fully realized minimalist approach, and the results are striking. "Bed of Nails" is a dance song about doing anything for love like lying on a bed of nails.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Luiz on May 22, 2011
Format: Audio CD
My first exposure to Wild Beasts was with "Devil's Crayon," where Tom Fleming's beautiful baritone voice is most prominent. Then I watched the video for "Hooting & Howling" and was blown away with how original Hayden Thorpe's falsetto singing is. They truly have a unique sound, and "Smother" showcases their talents. Listening to these two very different voices is just magical stuff. Much has been made of the fact that this album is a little more somber and doesn't have all the explicit sexuality of their previous two efforts, but there's still that boldness here that draws on references to gay and/or straight lovemaking as metaphors for something more that's going on in the relationships. These are far from your standard love songs. There's a lot of synthesizer work here, but a video that shows Tom and Hayden doing an acoustic version of "Reach a Bit Further" on a Paris footbridge above passing cars, shows how awesome they sound even with nothing but a single guitar as accompaniment.

1. Lion's Share - 4:14 - Starts with a minimal synthesized beat and Hayden doing his wonderful vocal gymnastics, later the tempo builds and Tom provides gorgeous background vocal support. It's one of 2 songs on the album (the other being "Plaything") in which Hayden plays the part of the boastful lover, bragging about taking the lion's share of the relationship and of his lover's body. Elegant piano playing is mixed in with the synthesized sounds.

2. Bed of Nails - 4:18 - Hayden on lead vocal in this mid-tempo song. It's a pronouncement of a masochistic devotion to a lover ("I would lie anywhere with you, any bed of nails would do").
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Guy Haynes on November 4, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I'll just come out and say what is on everyone's lips - Wild Beasts shouldn't make sense. Hayden Thorpe's vocals are flamboyant, theatrical, flagrantly camp and he frequently deploys his voice in a deliberately twisted style, challenging his audience as they flit between the ugly and the beautiful. On top of this the lyrics commit the ultimate English guitar band taboo - Wild Beasts sing about (gasp) sex! Not in a cheeky, laddish 'you're fit but don't you know it' way either - but in a similarly brazenly romantic and disarmingly direct manner to Hayden's vocal style. It is testament to this band's well developed charisma and skill that they manage to not only make this sound work, they make it work brilliantly.

There is a certain predatory edge to these Wild Beasts though not in the Jersey Shore grab the most inebriated girl in the club, flex your muscles, carry her home and attack her in the hot tub type of approach. Smouldering glances, keen wit and literary references are more likely perhaps - closer to the old fashioned rogues and casanovas if you will. This hard to nail down charm helps these boys no end.

What also helps is having a second lead vocalist who, let's employ a euphemism here, sounds 'a lot less different'! In actual fact Tom Fleming sounds a lot like Guy Garvey of Elbow if you took 20 years off his voice and gave him a less grumbly, curmudgeonly spirit. It would be a disservice to simply label him the straight man in this partnership as his voice has enough nuance and interest to carry a song just as well as Thorpe.

The music itself is well judged, never fighting to be heard above the vocals - gently repeating rhythms and guitar lines that are predominantly understated, never showy.
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