"No getting it right, no getting it wrong...just getting it on"
It can be pretty hard to improve on perfection. Universally celebrated for their fantastical approach to everyday intimacy, Wild Beasts are a favourite band around these parts for good reason - sometimes pretentious but always provocative, they simply see things on a deeper level than most. With 'Smother', they created our favourite record of all time - a capsule of what it means to lose yourselves to the ruins of romance.
With this morning's announcement of their upcoming neon-daubed fifth record 'Boy King', they cement their return with a renewed aggression. The album tracklisting reads like a dream - excuse us while we stitch 'Alpha Female' onto the backs of our grubby denim jackets, and speculate on what level of grandeur a song named 'Eat Your Heart Out Adonis' might sit. But let's for now focus on it's lead single - the sleazy, satisfying and ultimately surprising 'Get My Bang.'
Everything that makes Wild Beasts so wonderful is here in abundance - rapid wordplay, dual frontmanship and lyrical memoirs of the modern lothario. Layer on basslines encrusted with grotty funk, snaggle-toothed guitarwork and a darkly joyous video, and you have something new - something crafted to perch suggestively atop a Radio 1 playlisters knee and whisper in it's ear the way none of their previous material could. Wild Beasts have spoken at length in interviews about their intent to let each album to occupy a completely different world to the one prior, and this definitely ticks that box - it would have seemed incredulous a few years ago to imagine them dropping this sort of groove driven party-starter as a follow-up to 'Smother, but next to 'Present Tense' it makes sense, pushing their experimentations with electronics that little bit further.
There's something very malicious about 'Get My Bang'. From it's (lewd, rude and) crude title to it's seemingly knowing pastiche of RnB music videos, it hints at an altogether less subtle approach going forward. In parts, it reminds me of the progression that their labelmates Arctic Monkeys made with 'AM' - letting the 90s hip-hop influence inform the music in a much more obvious manner, putting an emphasis on the 'call and response' chorus structure that's so synonymous with west coast rap. Coming from a gang of working class white boys from Kendall, it's a thrilling juxtaposition.
There's something deeper than just a quick fumble in the dark though. Not just a statement of seedy intent, the very phrase 'get my bang' creates the image of a gunshot, a parable for how the surrender of lust will ultimately be the demise of red-blooded man. It's daubed on the walls of the house in the backdrop of the video; 'death to all betrayed'. Twisting itself from 'get my bang' to 'bang gets me' as the chorus subverts, it's a familiar Wild Beasts narrative - testosterone wrestling with the fear of something much more fallable... 'we live in alter egos'.
I can't wait to see how this fits in the context of a record - whether they will dismiss their softness entirely in favour of a more instantly accessible sound, or whether this is just another facet of their eternal quest to depict every angle of masculinity. Considering their previous output, I would expect the latter but forgive them either - Wild Beasts are a band who keep you safe in their arms.