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Bastille

Originally intended as a solo career for singer-songwriter/keyboardist, Dan Smith, London’s indie synth-pop quartet BASTILLE were the surprise package of 2013, having rocketed to pole position with their inaugural album, “Bad Blood”. Augmented by friends Kyle Simmons (keyboards/acoustic guitar), Will Farquarson (bass) and Chris “Woody” Wood (drums), the name of BASTILLE came about in 2010 through frontman’s Dan’s common ground sharing of his birthday (14th July) and the storming of the French prison/fortress in revolutionary France in 1789.
Historical facts aside, the English lads got underway when local indie imprint, Young & Lost Club, issued their debut 45, `Flaws’ (b/w `Icarus’), while a subsequent CD-r (led by the Twin Peaks-inspired `Laura Palmer’ track) was promptly delivered later in 2011. A rush for their signatures was over when Virgin Records won the day, the major probably unperturbed when both `Overjoyed’ and follow-up, `Bad Blood’, failed to generate anything more than critical appraisal and radio airplay.
Buoyed by a support slot to British soul singer, EMELI SANDE (on the back of Glastonbury and Isle of Wight Festival spots), BASTILLE were quickly finding their feet and, in October 2012, a re-vamped version of `Flaws’ just missed out on a Top 20 place. Previewed by the chart-topping BAD BLOOD (2013) {*7}, the attendant Top 3 smash `Pompeii’ download was one of several anthemic sing-a-longs that graced the grooves; if A-HA and/or the electro-pop 80s are one’s bag, `Things We Lost In The Fire’, `Daniel In The Den’, and the other half-dozen single ditties, will have one storming the shops for copies. While America would be a different proposition, somehow surprise hit `Pompeii’ managed to pave the way for huge sales.
Chalking up back-to-back album chart-toppers – and a Top 5 entry in the States – with WILD WORLD (2016) {*7}, it was a picnic in the park for capital crooner Dan Smith and his storming the BASTILLE buddies. Seizing the day in their feisty festival fist-pumping chanthems, hidden among the record’s punchy pop production and corny chorus lines (“lesser of” `Two Evils’ almost crungeworthy), a proper dig at the Trump bloopers was in hand on `The Currents’; maybe a cover of Mark E. Smith’s `Hillary’ will save the world, lads? Opening earworm salvo and major hitter, `Good Grief’, was commercial indie-pop at its most glorious, and one can’t help falling hook line and sinker for retro-80s toons `Warmth’, `Glory’ and `Send Them Off!’ – complete with TV dialogue. Forget IMAGINE DRAGONS for an hour or so and bask in the sunshine of BASTILLE’s political pop decadence; but don’t mention Versailles.
© MC Strong/MCS Mar2013-Sep2016

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