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I Hear Sparks: Wild Beasts – Two Dancers

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Ambition can be a funny thing. A little too much ambition and it seems like you’re trying to fucking hard, like you’re just reaching too far because you’re too cocky to admit that what you’re doing is bullshit. Not enough ambition and you’re lazy. Go figure.

In 2008, Wild Beasts released their debut record, Limbo, Panto,  and it was called ambitious. Lucky for the lads from Kendal, England, it was also lapped up by indie press hounds around the world. 2009 brings about the follow-up, a record called Two Dancers, and something tells me that damn “A-word” is going to be tossed around again.

Released August 2 in the U.K. and set for release on September 8 in the United States, Two Dancers is tricky, funky, absurd, bizarre, and fucking unbelievable. It’s also, yep, ambitious.

Start with Hayden Thorpe and perhaps the most absurd falsetto in music. We’re talking theatrical stuff, kids. Thorpe uncorks the bottle and soars above the music, sometimes to comical effect and sometimes to unexpectedly poignant effect. The way he wraps himself around the constantly shifting rhythms and the diabolically disturbing melodies is something to be experienced.

Two Dancers is already racking up the orgasms amongst British music press and it’ll probably only be a matter of time before the record does the same over here. Let this be my own personal sonic eruption, therefore, because this is a great record and sure to wind up somewhere near or somewhere on a lot of annual Best Of lists.

Part of what makes the album so great is how seamlessly the quartet changes things up and how much hay they make out of the contrast in vocals, especially on the time-shifting salvo of “All the King’s Men.” Listening to bassist Tom Fleming’s offsetting of Thorpe’s ridiculous falsetto is all sorts of brilliant.

The absurd introduction of “We Still Got the Taste Dancing on Our Tongues” gives way to a surprisingly poignant teardown, while the cock-obsessed lyrics of “Two Dancers I” makes for some strange listening.

The Wild Beasts’ Two Dancers is a record to go out on a limb for but it’s also a record to be extremely careful with. This is a legitimately special band that will only get bigger and will only rack up more accolades. If you’ve missed out on the debut, Two Dancers is a good place to jump on and see what the fuss is going to be about. Be warned, however, as it’s a tricky and fucking intricate record that will take multiple spins to truly appreciate.

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