Following the release of their marvellous fifth album Boy King, we are delighted to welcome Wild Beasts to the Neverland this summer.
“On the last day of making Boy King I had a minor breakdown in knowing what part of myself I was revealing. It’s a bit ugly, a bit grubby, arrogant,” says Hayden Thorpe, reflecting on the recording of Wild Beasts’ fifth album, their most naked and direct to date and a marked change from the optimistic aesthetics of 2014’s Present Tense. If that album found Thorpe, Tom Fleming, Ben Little and Chris Talbot in reflective mood, absorbing a fascination with online culture and electronic music, Boy King has them, as Fleming puts it, “back to being pissed off”. Wild Beasts’ ever-present knack for sensual melody via Thorpe and Fleming’s duetting vocals, Little’s sinuous guitar groove and Talbot’s potent rhythm section carries in Boy King an aggressive, snarling and priapic beast that delves into the darker side of masculinity and Thorpe’s own psyche. As Hayden himself says, “After five records there had to be an element of ‘what the fuck?'”. Wild Beasts decided to find their way into the follow-up to Present Tense with a complete change in how they approached their craft. This moment of realisation that they needed to change how they wrote songs was, says Thorpe, hugely liberating: “The only thing you can do from that point onwards is turn your vehicle into traffic and play chicken with yourself, and do all the things you said you’d never do.”