Wild Beasts Limbo, Panto

Wild Beasts Limbo, Panto
When you first hear Kendal, England's Wild Beasts, you'll notice there's an enormous elephant in the room: Hayden Thorpe's voice. Featuring one of the most unique intonations of recent time, it's difficult not to put him before the music, considering only Antony Hegarty has a more distinct vocal gift in the realm of male pop singers. With such a voice, Thorpe needs back up equally as ostentatious and theatrical, and as far as rock bands go, Wild Beasts are more than qualified for the job. The band's debut album, Limbo, Panto, is unapologetically histrionic, accomplished and, to my amazement, not the bitter, pretentious pill one would expect from something so art damaged. While Thorpe could easily be fronting something much more abstract, it's refreshing to hear a band like this craft such handsome songs as "The Devil's Crayon," a sultry spin on a merry-go-round, "She Purred While I Grrred," which has the mischief inherent to any child's playground, and "Woebegone Wanderers," the only rock song ever written with both waltz and football in mind, and performed entirely in falsetto. That alone represents what this band are capable of. (Domino)