A falsetto voice in a rock song has a unique effect that can be much different than that of a falsetto in a ballad. In a ballad a falsetto can be soothing, swaying, and gently moving along the current of the music. In a rock song, a falsetto asserts itself by punching through the music to prove it’s masculinity. This aggressive incarnation of the falsetto is at the heart of art-rock band, Wild Beasts.
Debut release Limbo, Panto served to establish this UK quartet as a dynamic band not afraid to pile on the pomp and circumstance. Hayden Thorpe’s voice calls out over the baroque embellishment of the music and comments on considerably less dramatic themes within the lyrics. The album’s aesthetic is difficult to compare to any other artist past or present, which enabled Wild Beasts to leave a firm impression only a few steps into their career.
Follow up, Two Dancers, saw Thorpe and company drifting into more pop friendly songs. Bass player, Tom Fleming made more appearances on vocals lending a deep Nick Cave-like undertone to Thorpe’s androgynous wails. Less flashy than their debut, Two Dancers saw a more controlled approach to their unique musical identity. Their most recent release continues their thread of unconventional art-funk with ballads such as “Albatross” that finds the band with a darker, more restrained tone. Quirky and odd, this is the kind of indie rock that rewards an open mind and an artful ear.
If you like: David Bowie, Prince, Jónsi
Check out: Wild Beasts (start with Two Dancers, continue with Smother and graduate to Limbo, Panto)
Feeling brave: Antony & the Jonsons, Tune-Yards, Dirty Projectors
AI level: Advanced