Bastille, Bad Blood

A dream of mine is to visit and work with an artist who records an album of theirs at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. Knowing that nearly every Beatles record was recorded there, among other hit albums, it would be as surreal as sitting in the same room where Dolly Parton recorded “Jolene”, which I got to do just last year. So to say that Bastille has a leg up, recording their debut album at Abbey Road, is an understatement.

Bastille was formed in London, England, so it’s appropriate that they got the chance to record at Abbey Road. The debut album, Bad Blood , has a haunting, yet soft feeling to it, which matches a certain feeling that the studio has been able to capture throughout several records, like Duran Duran or Pink Floyd. The record features a specific blend of alt-rock, indie, and electronica, similar in ways to Imagine Dragons. Lead singer Dan Smith’s vocals, however, soar further past the immense popularity of Imagine Dragons, putting him into a league of his own. Throw in the catchiness of the opener “Pompeii”, and you’ve got quite the debut from this impressive singer/songwriter. The album’s other hit single, the title track, encompasses this deep, driving bass beat laid over a sing-a-long chorus. Another driving track is “Flaws”, which features more background vocals to compliment Smith’s lead.

What sets Bastille apart from other electronic rock groups is the emotional depth behind Smith’s lyrics. While simplistic at many points, it’s the structure and intricacy of the tracks that stands out. The poppy style of “Things We Lost In The Fire” might sound great on the outside, but the content within dives into a haunting memory of love lost, with lyrics like “I was the match, and you were the rock / Maybe we started this fire / We sat apart and watched / All we had burned on the pyre”. Similar moments flood the record, with songs like the piano-driven “Overjoyed” and the strong electronic-fused “Icarus”. The opening features a haunting, theatrical intro leading into a dancefloor anthem style beat, and this one is sure to be remixed. Hopefully people won’t miss how deep and personal Smith’s lyrics are.

I’d been anticipating this release nearly all year, and I have to say Bastille does not disappoint. While the album seems to drag on a little long, I’m not going to complain for more than enough music from such a gifted artist. It’ll take a good while before the buzz starts to die down for Bastille, and for good reason.

Justin Mabee