Whether it’s swaggering opener Big Cat or the feminist Alpha Female, Wild Beasts’ new album Boy King is all about humans at their most vivid, pumped and red-blooded. On this new release, the British indie group ditches the complex drumming and subtle themes of their previous four albums in favour of electronically-driven groove paired with animal aggression.
While main vocalist Hayden Thorpe goes out on the prowl puffed with bravado on the first track, Celestial Creatures has him wrestling insecurity, begging the person he once tried to charm, “What do you want with me?/ You’re a deity and I’m nothing.”
2BU is another of the several songs where the mask of braggadocio slips to reveal admiration for another, using bassist/singer Tom Fleming’s smooth baritone to add further sincerity over retro synths.
The second half of the album takes more time to warm to than the first five songs, which are more immediate singles.
However, the entire LP frames Wild Beasts at their most absurd and fun, revelling in the thrill of the chase and the gluttony of wanting to be with someone. Against the sleaze-oozing arrangements of the other tracks, piano coda Dreamliner twinkles mournfully like the final sleepy trudge home after a wild party.