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Album Review
Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts
by Killing Bear


Review Date
10th August 2010
Reviewed by
Brannavan Gnanalingam

Nirvana left a fairly impossible legacy – Kurt Cobain made what he did seem so simple and seemingly so universal, that a whole bunch of imitators followed who lacked Cobain’s gift for a metaphor or the furious melodic/noise mix. Pukerua Bay based Killing Bear are clearly indebted to the legacy of Mr Cobain – the vocal performances, the catchy tunes, the wry tone of the lyrics. While they may not manage to transcend the direct Nirvana comparisons in their debut album Wild Beasts, the highly energetic album suggest they have a gift for melody and power-pop.

An especial highlight for the album is the artwork – the hand-drawn, pop-out work by Tane Williams is quite brilliant. However the album itself could have done with some editing – it’s good to see some ambition, but a bit more rigour wouldn’t have gone amiss. The album is a hotchpotch of vocal styles and lyrical musings – perhaps a stronger overall vision would have assisted, or the removal of a couple of incongruous tracks would have assisted the album’s overall feel. The rhythm work is particularly strong on the album – and the straight-up rock n roll of the album would undoubtedly work well live.

The album gets off to a catchy start with ‘Love Is Like a Skateboard’ and ‘Internet Auction’, but the lyrics could have been developed a little more. The album’s highlight is the excellent ‘Wild Robots Roaming Free’ (the bonus-track more ‘laidback’ version at the album’s end is very good too), where the band come into their own with a propulsive swirl of synths, bass and drums. However, the band ruin the momentum by following that track up with the truly awful ‘Lets Rowdy’, a track which is more than a touch too juvenile to really start a good party. ‘Live Fast Die Fast’ was also little awkward – sloganeering and sludgy riffs not quite gelling with the rest of the album. Another standout track is ‘Darling’, a charming piece of power pop (the following tack, ‘Space Invader’ is perhaps another one which could have been left off with its momentum killing rowdiness). While the album isn’t going to set a new direction in Wellington indie music, the energy and ambition augur well for the band’s future.

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