'We've changed our sound'.
That, amongst a few other subtly incorporated sentences have quickly become tools in the musical world to send press, critics and fans wild with anticipation. Whilst it's wildly overused in todays times, never had we expected a band like Wild Beasts to actually fufill that sentence with such truth and meaning.
The Fun Powder Plot introduces the LP and draws slow, wavy patterns in the air, jingling with a repeated guitar riff - not dissimilar to Foals - and unfolding gently into a hypnotic, hollow masterpiece. Vocalist Hayden Thorpe is instantly recognisable, smearing his individual falsetto talents all over the hazy backing rhythm. If you were to take the host of material on Limbo, Panto, slow them down a little and add a big helping of stoner groove atmospherics, you'd most certainly be on you way to understanding the distinct change in pace that Two Dancers is offering here.
Everything, and we mean everything, has slowed down on the new record and though you could never misjudge it for anyone but the Wild Beasts, they seem to have decided upon taking their sound into surprising new territory. What was once flamboyant, theatrical grandiosity is now reserved, underwater wonder, layered in reverb and tinged with romantic motifs. It's a shock on the initial run through and you may feel the need to run swiftly back to the clutch of Limbo, Panto's joyous intensity for a while but trust us, sticking with it is more than worth it.
Lead single Hooting And Howling is a genuinely astonishing song and works flawlessly with just a simple riff and an even simpler chorus. If it wasn't created with that distinct Wild Beast atmosphere; a song like this would fail miserably but somehow, someway they manage to slot it wonderfully inside their newly reformed sound.
What's so impressive about their second LP is how easily they could've sold-out with their sound and how much they've decided against it. They've always been a sellable group which was mainly to down to their individual take on the experimental-indie genre but instead of using that to their advantage and moulding an easily accessible LP, fit for the masses, they've calmed their exaggerated musings down, swapping dramatic show-tune joviality for quieter, more thoughtful workings. There's nothing genuinely awe-inspiring throughout its near forty minute duration but its a fantastically thorough listen with no real down points.
The almost seven minute twosome that is title-tracks Two Dancers and Two Dancers II lifts away from anything the band have created before and travels to a realm where post-rock seeps in through the cracks and the atmosphere is thick with haze and moisture. The first of the pair is both longer and darker than it's successor but they're equalled in greatness. It shows a once high-spirited, exuberant collective completely re-write their musical concepts, ideas and thoughts into a sweeping, almost epic venture that stands as possibly their best work today.
It's genuinely difficult to pit Wild Beasts' second album up against their debut and though we've attempted to make comparisons above, when it comes down to it; they both offer a completely different side to the group themselves. It's not necessarily a superior record than it's predecessor but it's equally as satisfying for completley different reasons.
If we can expect a change in pace this well-crafted for album number three then we might just be witnessing the growth of one of the most promising English bands this side of the millennium.