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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Album review: Boy King by Wild Beasts is sloppy but less fussy and more primal than previous works

A true mood piece – if the album feels a little one-note, musically and lyrically – comes in the 21-minute closer Boy King Trash, a humane collage of offcuts and studio noodling that unravels the band’s (tongue-in-cheek) macho poise.
Boy King by Wild Beasts. Courtesy Domino
Boy King by Wild Beasts. Courtesy Domino

Wild Beasts

Boy King

Domino Records

Four stars

After four albums of slippery, indie-electro wig-outs, fans might have been worried when Wild Beasts said this outing, their fifth, was a concept album examining “the self-­destructive effects of modern-day masculinity”.

Turns out, modern-day man isn’t such an enigma. Much of Boy King is preoccupied with matters of the carnal variety. A bedroom stench oozes from the record’s sloppy, sleazy, but utterly irresistible, twisted-disco grooves. Sharper, less fussy and more primal than previous work, the tone is set by opener Big Cat, a heady haze of squelching synths, bare beats and sweaty falsetto.

Temperatures rise with the smu­tty strut of Prince-esque Tough Guy. A true mood piece – if the album feels a little one-note, musically and lyrically – redemption comes in the 21-minute closer Boy King Trash.

It’s a strangely humane collage of offcuts and studio noodling that unravels the band’s (tongue-in-cheek) macho poise.

rgarratt@thenational.ae