On the day of their new release, Boy King, Wild Beasts play an exclusive show at Rough Trade East in Shoreditch.
Joe Young

23:37 11th August 2016

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Mainly incorporating cuts off the new album, Wild Beasts start as they mean to go on with ‘Tough Guy’, a soulful number interspersed with aggressive funk. The song concludes with crashing, classic rock guitar work from Tom Fleming, complimenting the angelic nature of Hayden Thorpe’s voice expertly.   

Boy King is more abrasive than their past work, it’s mature, angry and Thorpe, whilst still poetic, is at his most visceral. Wild Beasts have spoken of their desire to be more id based, bringing their “inner Byron” out. So much so that Thorpe suggested that he had "a minor breakdown in knowing what part of myself I was revealing. It's a bit ugly, a bit grubby, arrogant." Thorpe seems to have no qualms of revealing himself here, as he asks for his bass guitar to be tuned up he quips, “so basically, more of me”.

The undisputed highlight occurs midway through the set, with the debut of the best song from Boy King, ‘Celestial Creatures’, a brooding, building masterpiece with a crashing, otherworldly chorus.

This is still pleasant, characteristically Wild Beasts indie pop which the crowd laps up, but with a definite edge.  

Wild Beasts finish with an ode to the past, with the fantastic synth led song, ‘Wanderlust’. Thorpe croons, “don’t confuse me with someone who gives a f-ck”. This could be a nod to their seeming cult status when compared to other acts that have been this consistent for so long. However, hopefully Thorpe will take notice of the acclaim for their fantastic album, Boy King, from their fans and critics alike.  

The band is on good form throughout, Fleming at one point humorously apologises for “trying to evolve a Pokemon” mid-set. Similarly, Wild Beasts' music has evolved from the synth wonderland of 2014’s Present Tense, into a brutal, but very danceable, heated funk.

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Photo: Joe Young