Wild Beasts: Feral, But With Finesse

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Vigil for a Fuddy Duddy"
  • Artist: Wild Beasts
  • CD: Limbo, Panto
  • Genre: Rock
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In "Vigil for a Fuddy Duddy," Wild Beasts' members demonstrate both wild experimentation and subtle restraint. Edd Westmacott hide caption

itoggle caption Edd Westmacott

Wild Beasts singer Hayden Thorpe can conjure extraordinary melodrama with his voice, as he sings in high, clear tones and stretches his range into a growl with equal finesse. All the while, the rest of the band wraps his fragile, aching phrases in clean guitars and tip-toed drums. It could easily come off as overly posed or mannered, but in the English group's short career, it's already demonstrated an instinct to push past easy uses of its gifts, through both wild experimentation and subtle restraint.

In "Vigil for a Fuddy Duddy," it's not always clear what Thorpe is singing, but words peep out: "breast," "hold it to me," "hot hormone" and "remind me of your gentle f—." Okay, he's definitely singing about sex. Or maybe fantasy, tinged with regret, as he sings, "Men, to be men, must love and pity / so deeply and secretly." Thorpe dips down into a less-than-delicate moan as he sings the word "moan," but three and a half minutes in, he goes feral and the moan becomes a full-on growl. He sounds turned-on, desperate, about to break. But his bandmates keep "Vigil for a Fuddy Duddy" gliding forward, as if they were at a pub and their mate, having had a few too many, has begun to make lewd suggestions about someone down the bar. Exercising immaculate control, they steer him back into angelic fantasy.

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