Originally a solo project for front man Dan Smith that later became the current quartet, Bastille are rapidly become the slightly alternative mainstream band of choice thanks to the success of latest single ‘Pompeii’. With such a strong track preceding it, debut Bad Blood has a lot to prove; some would say such respect is too soon accredited to a band who have yet to prove themselves and yet, the record stands up of its own accord. Clearly inspired by the work of David Lynch, Smith is often seen clad in a Lost Highway shirt and even the penultimate track ‘Laura Palmer’ is an obvious ode to Twin Peaks.
Bastille occupy an area in the charts similar to where Scouting for Girls once sat; pop driven songs that aren’t exactly dance tunes but provide enough of a beat to move to. Albeit a lot more diverse than a group famous for writing different lyrics over the same song for an entire album. Smith is smart enough to vary the weight of each song so that instruments play just as important a role as the electronic influences; too often one is traded for the other but Bastille don’t settle for half measures in song writing.
The mythological ‘Icarus’ is a certain highlight, and although an old track, it’s contender for next single; with a tribal percussion introduction, Smith’s signature signs the track with understated synths and an addition of strings that weren’t included on the early recordings. ‘Oblivion’ is one of the more graceful tracks with a beautiful example of Smith’s falsetto, the track ponders “are you going to age with grace?”. Whatever the inspiration for such a track, it’s arrangement is flawless and the final argument for the strength of this one man band’s songwriting.
To offer one criticism, an ironic one at that; the album’s consistency in providing stadium filling anthems results in such a fluidity that without the track listing, I could only name two songs from the record. A problem they will no doubt resolve as each single is released. There’s something here for everyone; the songs bear enough charm to repeat on the ear without grating and with as much radio play as they have gathered, that’s certainly admirable. Fans of stadium-pop acts Coldplay and Florence Welsh will likely enjoy Bastille and if Dan Smith comes to dominate the charts I for one won’t be complaining.