Present Tense

Present Tense

Present Tense—the fourth album by the Cumbrian, U.K., quartet Wild Beasts—took nearly a year away from touring to rightfully conceive. Written in London and recorded at Konk Studios in London and The Distillery in Bath, with coproducers Lexx (Arcade Fire, Madonna) and Brian Eno protegé Leo Abrahams, the album achieves a level of consistency and emotional richness that was often harder to unscramble in Wild Beasts' angst-ridden early works. But Hayden Thorpe looks to learn more about himself with each album, taking his fans with him. The opener and debut single, “Wanderlust,” features plenty of daring sounds and a confrontational stance: “Don’t confuse me with someone who gives a ****.” But songs like “Pregnant Pause,” “Mecca,” and “Daughters” tread closer to a Scott Walker/Talk Talk vibe, where much goes on under the surface. Second vocalist Tom Fleming provides a steadying counterpoint. The easy accessibility of “A Simple Beautiful Truth” is something that their earlier selves never would have allowed but clearly should have, since every story has a moment of reflection—and you catch more fans with honey.

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