Bastille’s “Bad Blood” review


    For a debut album, Bastille’s “Bad Blood” did not disappoint. Originally a solo project by Dan Smith, the English group is now a quartet that has received several nominations for the 2014 BRIT Awards. Long awaited by fans, the Mar. 4, 2013 release contains previous releases and opens with the popular hit “Pompeii.” By beginning with their most well-known song, both new and old fans are drawn into the album to hear what else Bastille has to offer.

    By playing with vocals and instrumentals, the result of most of the songs is a nice mix of pop music with haunting lyrics. For example, when Smith sings, “It all crept up on you, in the night it got you and plagued your mind, every day it passes faster than the last did and soon you’ll be old” in “Weight of Living, Pt. II,” it is a common terrifying realization for high school students and adults alike  that reminds listeners of everything they never got to accomplish. “Overjoyed” is another prime example of a song that has the perfect balance of the two elements. Ironically, despite its title, it sounds darker while “Weight of Living, Pt. II” is more upbeat.

    The instrumentals cause some of the songs to verge on the edge of sounding electronic, such as in “These Streets” and the title song “Bad Blood,” but once again, the balance is still there. Smith’s voice stars in “Laura Palmer” and “Oblivion” shows off the extent of his voice range. In “Oblivion,” his singing could almost be described as falsetto at some points.

    Critics have decried their lack of originality and compared Smith’s ballad-esque music to Coldplay, but the songs “Flaws,” “Get Home” and “Daniel in the Den” prove otherwise. The background music is evident and “Flaws” has a catchy tune, but Smith’s voice stands out. “Get Home” opens with just Smith’s voice, has a more gentle sound, and includes some electronic effects, which is definitely different from Coldplay. Bastille undeniably has the airy sound of Coldplay in many of their songs, but Smith has the ability to use heavier sounds when he wants to. The songs in “Bad Blood” are both pop and indie, light and dark, upbeat and sad, and make up a unique mix that similar albums lack.