Review - Bastille - Bad Blood
Bastille is one of those bands that isn’t so much a band as a person. Lead singer/songwriter Dan Smith started the project himself, and the first incarnation of Bastille was just him. Over time, he thought it better to add those that could play all the instruments he wanted at once (instead of just a backing band while live), and thus the band we see now was created.
While there may be four members, you can hear Smith’s prominence and vision throughout ‘Bad Blood’, the group’s debut album. From the singing to the songwriting style, Smith is a frontman that towers above his comrades, whether he means to or not.
Everything about ‘Bad Blood’ is dramatic. Bastille has backup singer on backup singer recording vocals that are almost choir-like, but for their intention. Nothing here is angelic, instead opting for real male vocals (deeper than we’re used to from a chorus). Lyrically, Smith isn’t interested in love so much as he fears it, the loss of it, and craves something more. A sense of immediacy can be heard in every single one of Smith’s desperate cries.
Smith wonders if he’ll age with grace, implying he must live as much as he can while he can. What if you are left alone? What if she never comes back? There’s a hole in his heart and he begs you to fill it. These aren’t your average love songs, but those of a man tortured by the thought of being alone, yet probably too young, wild, and free to appreciate a good thing when he’s got it. ‘Bad Blood’ plays up the youthful angst inside all of us, and he does it exceptionally well, pitting these excruciating lyrics with a new form of indie/alternative pop rock that mixes his new wave-sampling Logic with his backing band.
Listen to: “Pompeii”, “Things We Lost In The Fire”, “Weight of Living Pt. II”, “Flaws”, if not the entire album.