Wild Beasts – Boy King

Rachel Heward reviews the latest album from Wild Beasts, Boy King

On this fifth offering, Wild Beasts embrace the ferocity of their moniker, yielding to the electronic sound that they began toying with on last album Present Tense. This may also have something to do with Boy King’s producer, the Grammy award-winning John Congleton (St. Vincent, John Grant) who the band has recognised as key in bringing out the raw power in their songs. The result is a bold, uncompromising record with an undeniable darkness running through it.
Masculinity is put under the microscope; the likes of ‘Eat Your Heart Out Adonis’ and ‘Get My Bang’, offer up a tangled web of both sex appeal and aggression, and ‘2BU’ is downright predatory – “Now I’m the type of man who wants to watch the world burn, I hope you run, best hope that I don’t find you first.” Contrast this with the vulnerability of the synth-heavy ‘Tough Guy’ – “Now I’m all fucked up and I can’t stand up, so I better suck it up like a tough man would” – and you begin to get a glimpse of the contradictory nature of what constitutes ‘manliness’ in 2016.
While Wild Beasts have always had a certain bleak undercurrent to their music; it’s never been teased out to this level before. In my opinion, long may it continue.

RH 7/10

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