Wild Beasts – ‘Boy King’ Review

Wild Beasts’ fifth album is a Tinder-tastic display of carnal desire

Wild Beasts have always been highly sexed animals. Theirs isn’t the music you casually play on your laptop after you successfully entice a date back home after a bottle of wine and a moderately priced sourdough pizza. Wild Beasts have long been the actual sound of shagging itself; all fiddly and slippery and somewhat more complex than you first thought. The follow-up to 2014’s ‘Present Tense’ is a continuation of the London-based band’s never-ending shagathon, but this time they’ve decided to house their fulsome electro-indie randiness in something of a concept album, one that picks apart the idea of masculinity, stripping it down in an attempt to reveal its hidden depths. Which are, you’ve guessed it, just as sex-obsessed as what’s on the surface.

Consider us unshocked. In this week’s NME, Wild Beasts bassist Tom Fleming bluntly and brilliantly summed up the premise of the album. “The last record was made up of love songs,” he said, coyly. “This one is all f**k songs.” That isn’t just down to Wild Beasts’ own saucy minds, but the enlisting of producer John Congleton, a man known for his fondness of heavy, guttural sound – having worked with the guitar-battering likes of St Vincent and extreme noise-makers Swans.

So alongside the creeping softness of ‘Dreamliner’ – which is full of Alt-J-worthy waves of sensual electronica – we get the biggest noises the band have made to date. ‘He The Colossus’ sees them experimenting with brazen riffage as frontman Hayden Thorpe sings the praises of the “come-to-bed eyes” of his “junkie love”, like Suede’s Brett Anderson by way of Aphex Twin. ‘Get My Bang’ is similarly huge, with a beefy bassline underpinning Thorpe’s account of how he secures his shags. ‘Eat Your Heart Out Adonis’ follows the same path, simultaneously shuddering with raw sexuality (“I like it messy / Don’t you make it neat”) and ‘Alpha Female’ has hooks and heaviness in equal measure.If they carry on at this rate, their next album will probably get them arrested.