Review: Bastille – ‘Good Grief’


Bastille's long-awaited return combines their old sound with a new direction.

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It feels like eons since we last heard a new Bastille track. The indie rock band’s success was explosive back in 2013 when debut album Bad Blood topped the charts and success has kept them busy, constantly touring and playing at festivals since. Now they’ve finally found a break to record a new album, Wild World, and ‘Good Grief,’ its first single, is somehow simultaneously good ol’ Bastille and a new direction for the band. It’s certainly more poppy than some of their previous songs, with guitar now accompanying those crunchy piano riffs and drum beats. Though a pretty morose subject matter, concerning the way that missing someone consumes your time, it still somehow feels positive and upbeat, and there is no denying the tune is extremely catchy.

Despite these differences, singer Dan Smith’s vocals are so iconic that you can’t escape that familiar Bastille feel. It is music that has you tapping your foot and nodding your head, destined to be ideal for live performances, explaining why the group have spent so long touring and out of the studio. Furthermore, the use of snippets from old films is a very familiar technique for Bastille, often used on the Other People’s Heartache mixtapes – perhaps most notably with American Psycho quotes in Ella Eyre collaboration ‘No Angels.’ On ‘Good Grief,’ actress Kelly Le Brock features twice, including delivering its opening line – “So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?” This is perhaps a theme for the song – what does Bastille want to do first, out of so many possibilities, when it comes to their new album?

In a BBC Radio 1 interview, Smith made sure to push that ‘Good Grief’ is not the sole sound for Wild World, saying that the album, due at the end of the summer, will go through “a variety of sounds, but is still very much us.” ‘Good Grief’ is a solid and infectious start, but there’s a part of me which is more looking forward to seeing the darker direction that Wild World will surely take. That’s what Bastille does best.

‘Good Grief’ is out now via Virgin


About Author

Editor of The Edge 2017-18. Culture Editor before that. Sporadic writer for the Wessex Scene, DJ on Surge, known photobomber of SUSUtv's videos. Bad habits include Netflix, not doing my work and drinking too much tea.

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