They were comfortable with their legacy in a way bands rarely are
Irreconcilable differences; emotional incompatibilities; a change of musical direction. These are the elegiac tropes banded around amid the day-to-day romanticising of the news that your once-favourite band is separating. It’s always a pleasure to add a little more situational gravitas to the music you grew up with. But in the strata where common rule throws roses on the carcass of any newly deceased musical project, Wild Beasts break the trend. Not for the first time in their career, but for the last.
“The four of us have decided, for our own reasons and in our own ways, that it is now time to leave this orbit. We’re caretakers to something precious and don’t want to have it diminish as we move forwards in our lives,” they wrote.
This announcement came alongside the promise of a final farewell – and here it is, fans packed together in this storied music hall like an oddly sombre game of Tetris. Break-up tours are often expected to be a cynical cash-grab, but this time it feels sincere, and the Cumbrian four-piece are visibly shaken as they take to the stage. A usually loquacious Hayden Thorpe looks awestruck.
It doesn’t take long to appreciate just how much Wild Beasts have to be caretakers of. The opening four tracks slide effortlessly between their first four albums. The heavy-hearted ‘Fun Powder Plot’ serves a cool rhythmic introduction next to the playfully, surreal ‘Devil’s Crayon’ and ‘Smother”s ‘Reach A Bit Further’. Thorpe frees himself from his bass on ‘A Simple Beautiful Truth’, vocal lines dancing liberally around Tom Fleming’s signature delivery and illusory lyrics, and it’s unlike anything else: “God knows why they gave budget to a band like us.”