Funny old birds. Not just our Beasty boys, but the white-winged ocean-goer that heralds their return. Albatrosses sail calmly above the seas for days without seeming to expend any effort, an emblem of easy grace.
Thanks to Coleridge and his Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, though, their formidable pinions have also became tangled in ideas of guilt, shame and mental burden. It’s a suitably gothic allusion for the Kendal quartet’s third album ‘Smother’ which, they’ve told us, also draws on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. No stormy horror here, but a song as serene and yet as weighty as its inspiration.
It glides in slowly on only guitar and faint rumbles of synth, a much subtler introduction than that which ‘Hooting And Howling’ gave to ‘Two Dancers’. Hayden Thorpe’s vocal is delicate, subdued as he admonishes “how callous the ocean you cross/I blame you blame you for all of those things I’ve been through/ It’s my neck around which you hang like a chain“.
Looking down to the sea he sees it swirling with “secrets that I should have shared” as a textured, Talk Talk-ish fog of sound builds around him, echoing piano and Tom Fleming’s gentle “woooos” breaking through before Hayden finally asks “which way to turn when we’re lost?” By this token, Wild Beasts will remain our guiding light.
What do you think of the new track?