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Album Review: Bastille // Give Me The Future

A record a long time coming, Bastille’s fourth world-building LP Give Me The Future takes all their pop decadence and combines it with the instrumental nuance found through their recent ReOrchestrated shows to balance huge momentum with a delicate undercurrent; all of this is simply the backdrop for an immersive virtual euphoria.

Immediately answering the question posed in 2016’s Wild World cut ‘Way Beyond’ – “when real life’s more fucked up than fiction / do you wanna be free of this?” – the twisted and moody opener ‘Distorted Light Beam’ introduces an exciting world of alternative possibilities. Begging, “don’t wake me up,” Dan then sings: “feeling like / if this is life / I’m choosin’ fiction.” This obsession with the attractive pull of a new reality and the joys, pitfalls and realisations that come with it is what plays out across the next 12 tracks.

‘Thelma + Louise’ is perhaps the most shockingly upbeat single released with shy riffs and irresistible melodies, cemented the joy that this escape can offer, and the monumental ‘Back To The Future’ utilises it’s addictive basslines to convey how desperate cravings drag us towards these temporary satisfactions. Elsewhere, though, ‘Plug In…’ adorns itself with the chaos of this “final frontier” to question whether endless possibilities are actually a good thing, swelling into a whirlwind of anguish that allows us to accept fabricated truths just for a small sense of reassurance. As whirring electronics and dramatic strings fuse cathartically, the observational but never really conclusive ponderings throughout Give Me The Future hit home in a world that leaves the people in it searching for more.

With five singles released, the worry was that all the energy from this release would already be expunged and capitalised on – this is undeniably and gloriously not the case. Aforementioned peaks bolster the ever-questioning front half of the record while slick vocals on ‘Stay Awake’ and happy-go-lucky whistling on ‘Club 57’ try to find happiness in the moment, no matter which plane that joy might manifest on.

While there are few down moments, the astute spoken-word ‘Promises’ from multi-talented Riz Ahmed is a breath of air in between back-to-back bangers, fully cementing the torn attitude of the record with sharp lines like “The future could be all we need or plugs in a dustbin” delivered with complete dryness. Bookending the journey, ‘Future Holds’ engrosses itself in gospel power; this is a rare moment of shining optimism from a group well-known to thrive in fatalism. Whether or not a corporate landscape brings a capitalistic desire for total governance to spaces beyond the physical, or whether planet Earth gets darker still, humanity is still able to appreciate the small things with a smile.

Always a band only contained by their own ambition, collaboration, experience and forward-thinking have resulted in Bastille’s best-flowing record yet, expressing a coherent mental adventure which is thematically tighter and sonically looser than even their sophomore pride and joy. An album with no restrictions, Give Me The Future enables you to get lost entirely in a construct of Bastille’s own making.

Rating

Bastille’s Give Me The Future is out today, and is available to download and stream now.

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RIOT

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