Bastille | Haunt EP (Virgin)

cd bastilleSo good is Haunt, one would be forgiven for putting the EP on repeat, listening over and over and over.

 

 

I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Well over a year ago, NME Radio introduced me to a British band called Bastille, and their heartbreakingly beautiful song “Overjoyed.” After buying the single online, I checked the band’s website in search of other recorded material—nothing. I checked again at the end of the year, when I was compiling my top songs of the year (“Overjoyed” was number one, of course), learning that the band’s was in the process of recording its debut EP.

Finally—finally—that EP is here. Haunt would be perfect save for one thing: EPs should really be against the law. Those of us wanting to listen to a band simply can’t get enough in four short songs. Personally, I like to put an album on repeat in my car and listen to it for a week or more; while I’ll concede that it’s a tad repetitious when you’re talking about 10 songs, 4 is almost too crazy to contemplate (although I do it anyway—go ahead, call me a rebel).

A recent issue of Entertainment Weekly said if you like Imagine Dragons, you’ll like Bastille. While I don’t think Imagine Dragons is bad, I think they’re derivative; Bastille is anything but. Whatever type of modern indie music you’re into, Bastille will impress. Now to the album…

The too-short four-song EP kicks off with the aforementioned “Pompeii,” which is near perfect. Dan Smith’s lilting, smooth-as-butter, yet commanding vocals grab your ears from the very start, and don’t let go until “Haunt” (noted as a demo—not sure why it’s unfinished) concludes.

But despite how excellent “Pompeii” is, “Overjoyed” is the song to beat all songs. Truly, you will not hear a more gorgeous song in life, ever. Smith’s voice shifts effortlessly into falsetto as he admits, “I hear you calling in the dead of night.” Every emotion floods the listener as the lyrics float past: love, sadness, heartbreak, inspiration, elation, and, finally, pure, utter, and complete calm. (forget #1 of 2012; I’d put it #1 of forever.) “I feel overjoyed when you listen to my words”—don’t worry; I’ll always be listening.

“Bad Blood” notches up the beat a bit—but not to the dancefloor levels of the disc opener—showcasing Bastille’s flexibility. This is an indie storyteller with a tribal beat to underscore anything you happen to be doing at the moment. The perfect driving song? Check. The right track to play when you’re in the mood to write? Natch. A backgrounder while entertaining friends? Bingo.

After a Krazy Kat remix of “Pompeii,” the album concludes with the title track, as pretty as anything Snow Patrol ever did. There’s just a teensy bit of tribal drumming beneath the gently delivered vocals and angelic “aah”s. “I’ll come back to haunt you,” Smith sings, his voice lapping gently against the shore. This is one promise you hope will be kept, as you’ll want to hear more and more from this brilliant new band.

So good is Haunt, one would be forgiven for putting the EP on repeat, listening over and over and over. At least I would forgive you, as I have done the very same. More, please. A+ | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: Snow Patrol, Imagine Dragons, The Script

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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