Wild Beasts, Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh, Mon 14 Nov 2011 (4 stars)

Wild Beasts, Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh, Mon 14 Nov 2011

Photo: Paul Phung

Compelling mix of fluid instrumentation and surreal vocals

‘We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time’ declares Wild Beasts' Hayden Thorpe, raising his tumbler of whisky and Buckfast. After their latest album Smother proved a remarkable follow on from Mercury nominated Two Dancers, the band are fresh from a standout year – and the momentum behind their Edinburgh show was palpable.

At the heart of what makes Wild Beasts more interesting than your average indie band is their cracking use of instrumentation; tracks are built fluidly with ever-changing arrangements of guitars (one played with violin bow), gloriously strong synths, melodic keyboards and double drummers. Thorpe’s falsetto register hints at surreal, while cohort Tom Fleming’s penetrative tones possess a compelling synergy.

Mesmerisingly dynamic live, the emotive set focused on recent material; euphoric crowd pleaser 'Albatross', haunting 'Smother' and thumping 'Deeper' all featured, with even less substantial material heralding whistles and cheers. One older, self confessed ‘more complex’ track also proved hypnotic, surging rhythms mirrored throughout by Thorpe’s forcible dance moves. The encore saw a spooky rendition of 'All The King’s Men' leading in to an emphatic full stage blackout, the ethereal instrumental soundscape of wonderbeat lullaby 'End Come Too Soon' enveloping the crowd.

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