March 4th, 2014 1:27pm

That Fear, That Fear

Wild Beasts “A Simple Beautiful Truth”

Wild Beasts’s fourth album Present Tense is a lateral progression from where they were on their previous record, Smother: They’re still exploring this slow, atmospheric, sensual aesthetic, and if anything, they’ve only become slower, more atmospheric, and more sensual. They’ve filed off their rough edges, so the music can seem a bit tepid at first, though Hayden Thorpe in particular can’t help but throw in some peculiar lyrics and vocal tics when he sings lead. On the whole, I don’t feel as engaged by this record as I have by the band’s more eccentric and energetic earlier work, but it’s certainly effective and intriguing on its own terms. This is band obsessed with exploring the vulnerable side of male sexuality, so it makes sense that they would take this sort of musical turn. I particularly like “A Simple Beautiful Truth” – it’s rather brief and relatively up-tempo, and the chorus contrasts the roguish tone of Thorpe with the more heroic tone of Tom Fleming as they sing about how you can only find true love by confronting fear.

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