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TheKickback – “Bad Blood”

Andrew Gastelum | Thursday, September 12, 2013

Synths are the way to the heart.

There’s just something about them that make everything better. Listening becomes more fun, as does dancing. And Bastille has found its place in the upper echelon of synth heaven with their version of neo-synth pop with their long-awaited debut album “Bad Blood.”

Bastille did things right on their way to the top. The quartet released music whenever they thought they had something right. Song by song, blog by blog, they built buzz by just releasing one solid track after another on their way to opening acts, a Glastonbury appearance and eventually a record deal.

They didn’t hold onto tracks waiting to make a sumo-sized splash or until they got a commitment from a major label. They just let it loose across the wild chasm that is MySpace and YouTube and let the listeners and writers build the buzz.

Speaking of buzz, you will love the buzz of a wide variety of vibrant synths that will hover in your headphones. Meanwhile, lead singer Dan Smith has found just the right tone and touch to glide upon these ear-pleasing synth melodies as if they were on giant, hum-worthy cloud.

Smith drives the songs with his anthemic, soulful hooks that will have anyone wanting to belt out with him. It’s as if the “Oooh’s and Ahhh’s” of a Coldplay chorus combined with Capital Cities’ harmonies.

The album blasts off with the opening track, “Pompeii,” which is the perfect summation of everything that Bastille is about. It’s insanely catchy with a contagious chorus scattered with deep “Oooh’s” and back and forth synths that provide the perfect backdrop for a song that’s about anything you want it to be.

“Bad Blood” soon follows in a similar fashion with an added organ and oddly-placed 808s that somehow manage to fit.

But my absolute favorite track of the album is “Flaws.” It’s an anthem to accepting what you still have to work on and rather than looking down upon them, you use that as a positive to continue moving forward. It starts with a series of computer beeps and bops, before Smith gets right into the chorus with lingering synth riffs awaiting their grand entrance.

Most Bastille songs give you conflicting feelings about how you should categorize the song’s meaning in Passion Pit-esque fashion (see “Icarus” and “Overjoyed”). But that lets you take in the sound and personalize it to what you hear on an individual level.

“Bad Blood” is definitely worth the listen. On any occasion, take it song by song, just like Bastille did to get us to listen. 

 

Contact Andrew Gastelum at agaste11@nd.edu