Bad Blood
Album Cover of "Bad Blood." (Courtesy of Bastille/EMI Group Limited)

by Joseph Mastando

Rating: *****

It seems that American culture, ever since the raise of The Beatles, has retained a fascination with music from across the pond. With artists like Adele, Jessie J, and Cher Lloyd flooding today’s pop music charts, it can be assumed that either this fascination has not dulled or, rather, that some distinct chemical in the Thames has fostered a growth of musical talent. In recent days, the Billboard Top 100 has featured new UK-based artists, but instead of the typical pop soloists that the country has cultivated, a new experimental band takes center stage.

Bastille, though recently public, signed to EMI Music in December of 2010. Lead vocalist Dan Smith began the project solo, inevitably leading to formation of the four person group.

Bastille hit English radio stations in 2012 with their hit song “Overjoyed.” The single’s melodic tone and poetic lyrics provided a freshness popular rock music has been lacking as of late. With a hypnotic piano-based backbone and 1980-styled synths, the song seems both reminiscent and original.

The second single, “Bad Blood” evokes a much stronger 80’s vibe than the first, utilizing the industries overtly computerized nature and including synths from the song’s opening to its close. Motifs in the band’s music start to emerge in the two songs as experiment instrumentals continue and vivid lyrics persist.

The essences of both songs seem to heighten in the band’s third hit, “Flaws,” molding together expressive lyricism with poignant tone and serenity with momentum. However, the song juxtaposes its former hits with its more upbeat feel and light-hearted lyrics. After the chorus, the lines read, “All of your flaws and all of my flaws, when they have been exhumed, we’ll see that we need them to be who we are. Without them we’d be doomed.” It seems that meaning hides beneath each song’s engaging surface.

With an album like Bad Blood, it becomes a challenge to target one hit as the best. With a track list of 13 songs—16 on the extended edition—it seems a near impossibility to grab hold of one special tune. However, many would agree “Pompeii” contrives all the qualities necessary for such a title. Being the first song to hit American radios and currently withholding the 88th slot on Billboard’s top 100, the song brought the band and its fan-base to a vivid reality. The first time most people listen to the song, its chanting quality, powerful build-up, and lively chorus lead them to envision a summer day driving to the beach with the top down, smiling from ear to ear. The inception of its popularity began as the track was listed under a free download on iTunes during the month of May. Ever since, Bastille has taken its music internationally and enlightens those outside the streets of London.

Bad Blood has just hit the American market, so stop by your local Best Buy or open up your iTunes app to purchase the England’s most recent treasure. With a rating of 5/5, the album will surely not disappoint.