Pop Quiz: Wild Beasts

Aidin Vaziri | Wild Beasts are one of the oddest and most endearing acts on the bill at this weekend’s Treasure Island Music Festival. The British quartet’s arch art-rock is dense with literary references and lascivious come-ons, driven by bassist Tom Fleming’s baritone and guitarist Hayden Thorpe’s operatic countertenor. The group’s third and latest album, “Smother,” released earlier this year, comes on the heels of two years of touring behind its Mercury Prize nominated predecessor, “Two Dancers.”

Tom Fleming of Wild Beasts
Q: When you and Hayden duet, are you merely using your voices as separate instruments or are you actually singing to each other like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell?
A: I don’t really know how to answer your question because it does change. Obviously there is a musical quality to it. It is a sound. But we often ask ourselves, “Are we singing to each other or are we not?” But never trust the “I” on the album. It’s not always what it purports to be.
Q: Has singing so much about sex helped you get any in real life?
A: I think because how we appear as people and what we do artistically, there’s a divide. But I think it’s an important point to make. It’s important four pasty boys from the North of England can address these things.
Q: Your previous album was nominated for the Mercury Prize. But that was probably nothing compared to the honor of your local newspaper, the North-West Evening Mail, hailing you as “the biggest band to come out of south Cumbria for decades – if not ever.”
A: It is a burden. It is a great responsibility we carry on our backs every day.
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