Not since troubadours like Morrissey or Suede’s Brett Anderson fopped their way across the landscape of British pop music has an act from the U.K. so radically debunked the notion of rock ’n’ roll as a playground for übermasculine, drug-addled juvenalia. Wild Beasts—a band equal parts romantic and dramatic from England’s Lake District—are a wonderfully flamboyant antidote to the usual rock machismo. The foursome’s sophomore album, Two Dancers (Domino), which came out last fall, is the stuff of dreams—meandering indie-pop experiments that incorporate dance music, glam-rock send-ups, and thanks to front man Hayden Thorpe’s soaring falsetto, unexpected shifts into fanciful Kate Bush territory. Armed with bacchanalian musical explorations like “We Still Got The Taste Dancin’ On Our Tongues” and “Hooting & Howling,” Wild Beasts make music for naked late-night runs through the forest—or, at the very least, non-self-conscious dancing and shameless make-out sessions. Few other acts can claim to be as aptly named. “It was important for us to make a more human-sounding record, warts and all,” Thorpe says. “The imperfections are the endearing parts.” Not that Wild Beasts have dispensed with all the familiar tropes of the genre: Girls and sex still play a serious part in their songbook. But while other bands struggle to find the difference between carnality and eroticism, Wild Beasts have developed their own vocabulary for love. “It was really a leap of faith for us, just stripping away all the bravado,” Thorpe explains. “The more tender, vulnerable things are the most fascinating to look at.”
Photo: Chris Talbot, Hayden Thorpe, Tom Fleming, and Benny Little of Wild Beasts, in Los Angeles, February 2010.All clothing and accessories: Lanvin. grooming Products: KérastaSE Paris, including lait nutri-sculpt. Styling: Moses/Margaret Maldonado Agency. Hair: Maranda for Kérastase Paris/www.themagnetagency.com. Special Thanks: Siren Studios.
Listen to tracks and get upcoming tour dates at the band’s MySpace page.