Wild Beasts: “All the King’s Men”

By now you’ve probably realized that a lot of the music I’m writing about these days is not necessarily brand spanking new (hello, David Bowie), but there’s so much of it these days that it’s easy to gloss over—or never even stumble across—something really worth hearing. Such is the case with Wild Beasts. Though their first full-length, Limbo, Panto, debuted in 2008, I didn’t hear about it until recently. And, of course, they date to well before that. When Hayden Thorpe and Ben Little originally formed the UK band as a duo in 2002, they went by Fauve, the French word for “wild beast.” After acquiring drummer Chris Talbot in 2004, they deferred to the English translation. Finally, bassist Tom Flemming joined the group and their sound was cemented. 

As frontman, Thorpe brandishes his breathy, vibratto-full falsetto as a weapon against falling between the cracks as an indie nonentity, but Fleming’s deeper vocals serve as a more masculine counterpoint to his high-flying stylings. These guys are more poetic—thought not overly so—than beastly when it comes to lyrics—but don’t expect poeticism to translate to sensitivity. “All the King’s Men,” for example, lists the myriad types of girls that could mother the children of a British Don Juan, and he is not trying to rack up his spawn in a romantic way. For all of you bummed about Mumford & Sons being sold out at Popscene tonight, rejoice. There are still tickets left for the Wild Beasts show at The Independent.

Wild Beasts – All the King’s Men

Who: Wild Beasts

What: Two Dancers

When: 9.8.2009

Where: Leeds, England

Why: “Girls astride me / Girls beneath me / Girls before me / Girls between me / You’re birthing machines / And let me show, my darling, what that means.”

How: Domino Records

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