Review: Wild Beasts, ‘Smother’

Review: Wild Beasts, ‘Smother’: Aidin Vaziri | With Lady Gaga’s new album yet to appear in the mail (the cassette copy of Madonna’s “The Immaculate Collection” stuck in our car stereo since 1998 apparently doesn’t count), we decided to review the other thoroughly weird, sublimely beautiful record with a terrible cover to come out this month. That would be Wild Beasts’ “Smother,” the third studio effort by the carnal British quartet that was nominated for a Mercury Prize for its previous release, “Two Dancers.” The new one is less direct, taking time to unfurl in hesitant rhythms and knotted guitar riffs. Getting past Hayden Thorpe’s theatrical voice and the cheap rhymes on the lyric sheet requires a certain amount of goodwill, but “Bed of Nails,” “Loop the Loop” and “Plaything” eventually take unsettling shape, impressing themselves deeper on the mind and heart with each listen. The single “Albatross,” meanwhile, brilliantly re-creates the gravity-free lift once offered by Talk Talk. Better still, not a single song here sounds like a rip-off of a dodgy old Cher tune.


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