Four albums into a career that has yielded, relatively speaking, considerable commercial success, Wild Beasts seem to have consciously decided that it’s time to get serious. Gone for the most part are the stagey, yelpy vocals that helped mark out the band, and there’s certainly no infectiously poppy ‘All The King’s Men’ to be found on this new record. It is an album, though, that in places almost oozes with the talent of its creators, a talent slickly captured by clean, pure, polished production.

Lead single ‘Wanderlust’ is poised electronic pop, with a strangely incongruous church organ floating under hard-edged lyrics (“Don’t confuse me with someone who gives a fuck” is the repeated lyrical refrain). On ‘Nature Boy’, Hayden Thorpe’s vocals have the resonant quality of a deeper-toned Antony Hegarty, while the sombre atmosphere and expansive, echoing percussion of ‘Daughters’ hints at Depeche Mode and makes it one of the album’s most interesting tracks.

There is a feeling of restrained power running through ‘Present Tense’, and that can be a very good thing, but at times, like on closer ‘Palace’, Wild Beasts go too far in that direction and things become a little one-paced and ponderous.

For a band who don’t wish to repeat themselves – and who are no doubt ready to sell some records – ‘Present Tense’ makes total sense. It’s a heavyweight effort, almost devoid of fun, but heavy with feeling.


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