Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Wild Beasts – Hooting and Howling

Culty Cumbrians come a cropper…


Matt Cibula: “Bait advertising is an alluring but insincere offer to sell a product or service which the advertiser in truth does not intend or want to sell…. The primary aim of a bait advertisement is to obtain leads as to persons interested in buying merchandise of the type so advertised.”

Peter Parrish: Mr Falsetto is really hamming it up here, prowling the stage and delivering plummy and almost vampiric tones to the front row. The hooting and howling is spasming out of this guy, leaving everything but a semi-persistant choral riff pretty subdued in comparison (although to be honest a giant glittering purple hat would also be subdued in comparison.) It’s all terribly affected, but not too hard to be swept up inside that big pantomime cape.

Anthony Easton: I was talking to a friend a couple of days ago about Bat for Lashes, and said that the English love for Kate Bush provided a whole aesthetic that was strange and sort of exotic to those who were too young or too far away from those who internalized — this, with its submerged hooks and theatrical intoning, must be part of that group.

Michaelangelo Matos: Sounds like he has his butler do his hooting and howling for him.

Chuck Eddy: They’re Brits, so this dork can’t be trying to pronounce the words phonetically, can he? He’s got some of the most unnatural diction I’ve heard in a good long while, either way — that a cappella start is completely fucking unbearable. When the tempo picks up for about 30 seconds, he reminds me of Weird Al reciting palindromes. But then the song drags on for several more minutes.

Sophie Green: The isolated vocals and use of dynamic are vital in separating Wild Beasts from the herd. The bouncing of the verses over the pizzicato melody drives the tension, but it is lost when the more Foals-like guitar is introduced. The interest of the first minute is redelivered in the closing third of the song, when the original lyrics return, when it is this time sent careering over the thumping drums against sweet piano embellishments. Sadly, as the guitar is brought back, the reinvigorated intensity of the song dissipates somewhat, and it fades to a finish, rather than expand even further.

David Raposa: Somewhere there’s a singer that’d be perfect for this song’s moody Modest Mousery. Somewhere there’s a band perfect for this vocalist’s earnest Yorke-ian quiver. And somewhere there’s a song where Wild Beasts’ two acquired tastes can come together and create a whole that doesn’t sound as labored and tedious as “Hooting And Howling.”

Kat Stevens: Interesting falsetto vocal, uninteresting early-doors-Coldplay guitar backing. At no point does this ‘build into a tangible sense of pleasure and chaos’.

Tom Ewing: I want to like what these people do, partly because there’s a restless and unashamedly ridiculous spirit here that’s rare in British indie, and partly because Cumbria deserves a better famous band than It Bites. But I want a song called “Hooting And Howling” by a band called Wild Beasts to have a bit more devil in it. I want to be disturbed, frightened even! I want to feel like I’m in the old forests of England at night and the underbrush is rustling. What I don’t want is a diffident art school strum. And for a band with a lot of ideas, did they have to repeat their dumbest one – that infuriating two-note chorus – quite so often?

Anthony Miccio: Though the a capella intro alone will scare off any Buckleyphobes, the problem with this track is that it isn’t histrionic enough. If the crescendos and percussion changes were more brazen, the ding-a-ling warbling about his warbling might transcend his pretensions and achieve the cartoon glory he aspires to.

Iain Mew: I bought Wild Beasts’ debut on recommendation and one listen. I found nothing too wrong with it — indeed, it seemed to be the kind of thing that I would normally really like — but it never clicked. Here they tone down their operatic excesses and just makes them even easier to pass by with a shrug. The slow-mo piano and ghostly backing vocals are pretty but it sounds like the most the song aspires to be is a cleaner version of Dog Man Star, and why would you want that?

Additional Scores

Alex Macpherson: [1]
Jordan Sargent: [6]
Martin Skidmore: [2]

One Response to “Wild Beasts – Hooting and Howling”

  1. “the English love for Kate Bush provided a whole aesthetic that was strange and sort of exotic to those who were too young or too far away from those who internalized”

    Provided a whole host of misguided, clownish imitators whose various affectations make one cringe in embarrassment, more like. The lesson to learn from Kate Bush is: do you, don’t do her. But few understand this.