September 17, 2009

Wild Beasts//The Devil's Crayon

Today, I write another chapter in the enormously popular and apparently never-ending book called Bands with Animal Names.

Speaking of books, I'm working on one. Not sure if I ever mentioned it here before, but it's the kind that requires a lot of research and interviews and that's basically what I spent my day doing today. This meant a lot of jumping on trains and long walks around Manhattan. Also, the subject matter has been, at times, a bit dark. Each moment I had, I got out my headphones and listened to this long, obsessively, like a weird freak-o, on repeat. It was perfect. It's deep and dramatic, but felt right for today, after having such intense conversations and with the weather changing roughly every three minutes from overcast to sunny.

Anyway, personal history: I heard a few Wild Beasts songs back when they broke out with Domino sometime in 2007 or 2008. Although there wasn't anything offensive about their sound, they didn't really grab me, and I didn't bother listening to a full record.

Then, a few weeks ago, an acquaintance posted this video on facebook and I was struck my how awesome it was. The guitar tone is fantastic and the vocals are really well-done, lyrically and in arrangement. Something I really enjoy about it is how the melody is simple, almost folksy, but set in tension with very modern background music. I really dare you not to get hooked on this one. The video itself is also quite pretty and worth watching for creative tarot animation.

Since becoming reacquainted, I've listened to both their Domino releases. While the band can definitely be hit or miss (at his best, the usual lead singer sounds like a younger, more energetic contemporary Jeff Buckley, with an extra pinch of drama; at his worst, he delivers almost laughably bad lyrics with the lilt of a special kind of green teenage-style overdramatic flair), the hits are movingly good, with some heavy Smiths influence, especially the Marr-inspired guitar lines. Par example:

Devil's Crayon.mp3

This truly is the Devil's crayon
That all his children use to draw
And we are so many tiny pieces,
We are so many tiny pieces.


Amychka said...

I've been a little obsessed with them lately. Really

g said...

I have to say, I cannot stop listening to them now. I retract previous negative remarks (although some of their lyrics are still a little weird/not good).