Bastille, the UK’s premier alternative rock band, is following up their platinum-winning debut, ‘Bad Blood,’ with ‘All This Bad Blood,’ a double-length special edition album featuring band favorites that didn’t fit on the original album, as well as a few tracks offering a taste of Bastille’s future.
Bastille was formed in 2010 by singer/songwriter Dan Smith, incorporating three of his peers and collaborators, drummer Chris Wood, percussionist Kyle Simmons, and guitarist Will Farquarson. Since their debut, the group has steadily climbed the charts, with their first full album, ‘Bad Blood,’ releasing as the #1 album in the UK last March.
One of the most unique features of Bastille’s work is the sheer breadth of techniques they incorporate into their music. Alongside the melancholy vocals of Dan Smith, electronic music flourishes, violin accompaniments, a booming male choir, and the use of xylophones and other interesting percussion elements add an impressive level of texture to each song, with each track featuring new and exciting musical touches.
This breadth of techniques also led to one of my only complaints about the album, a pronounced feeling of dissonance that really kept the album from feeling like a cohesive whole. Some tracks evoke a feeling almost similar to Coldplay’s ‘Viva la Vida,’ with a powerful male chorus and violin accompaniment, while others lean more towards electronica, sounding like a guitar-focused ‘Radioactive’ by Imagine Dragons. Each song, individually, features excellent ideas and a high degree of polish, but the number of styles represented makes it impossible to give any one group of people a definitive ‘buy’ recommendation.
I personally recommend starting with track 1, ‘Pompeii,’ because its superb male choir accompaniment, excellent use of percussion, and driving beat will offer a decent overview of Bastille’s style. For fans of electronic rock, track 4, ‘Overjoyed,’ offers an excellent showcase of the band’s electronic chops, as well as a beautiful piano accompaniment. If you want something closer to traditional alternative, try Track 2 off of Disc 2, ‘The Silence,’ which features an awesome bass accompaniment over textbook alt-rock drum riffs.
Overall, ‘All This Bad Blood’ was a pleasant experience, which is sure to offer at least one or two new songs to any fan of indie or alternative rock. I would, however, recommend making your song purchases à la carte, as there is a good chance that some of the musical styles represented may fall flat with individuals looking for a specific experience.
I give Bastille’s ‘All This Bad Blood’ an eight out of 10