Before the band Wild Beasts began writing the songs on their third album, “Smother,” they moved from the relative comfort of their hometown of Leeds to London, a place that singer and guitarist Hayden Thorpe classifies as “very suffocating” and “overpopulated with way too many bands.”
From the lyrical imagery and the rhythmic uneasiness to the title itself, “Smother” is all about this difficult transition.
“The record is very much a protective blanket,” says Thorpe. “The one mission statement we had with this album was to make something of beauty. And I think we understood that beauty is a balance. Too much of a good thing can be sickly and actually become ugly, so it’s all about the balance. If we’re singing sweetly and making peaceful music, sometimes that needs to be counteracted with a bit brutality and a bit of guts.”
Love in 3-D
Brutality abounds on “Smother,” with words like “I want my lips to blister as we kiss” and “I would lie anywhere with you/Any old bed of nails would do/Ink up the wound for a crude tattoo.” There are a lot of lovers’ songs, but no love songs.
“The thing we try to talk about is not a Hollywood sense of love,” says Thorpe. “It’s a human, 3-D, hypocritical sense of love. It’s an everyday sense of love. We’re not always wanting to give a happy ending, because we feel that alienates. We always thought we wanted to make music for ourselves and we want the truth. You know, in that sense, we find consoling and this record is a consoling device for us. It’s a really strong thing, when I personally hear music that makes me think ‘Thank God I’m not the only one.’”
Tonight, 8, World Cafe Live
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