Bastille, Alessia Cara – Another Place

“Brilliant chorus. Shame about the rest of it, really.”

Tom: Bastille and Marshmallo’s Happier is still getting regular airplay, more than a year after release. So it makes sense to do it all over again with someone else.

Tim: Sure, why not.

Tom: Brilliant chorus. Shame about the rest of it, really.

Tim: Yeah – it’s telling that every time I think “oh, this is actually pretty, I’ll ignore what Tom’s just said”, it turns out that it’s just because the chorus has started up.

Tom: I think the difference this time is that, while Alessia Cara has a great voice, that’s all she can bring: she doesn’t have an entire sound and style that can be mashed in with the recognisable vocals. Happier worked before it was, unexpectedly, a good mashup of two sounds, but this: sadly, it’s not enough of an Anthem, and it’s not enough of a Ballad.

Tim: Can’t disagree with any of that, really. Shame.

Seeb, Bastille – Grip

“I find it incredibly creepy!”

Tim: I have a LOT of time for this video.

Tom: I find it incredibly creepy! It was creepy when CBBC did it, and it’s creepy now.

Tim: Maybe – I mean, sticking googly eyes on fruit and then putting them in a blender is almost as horrifying as that Pixar short that was played before The Incredibles 2, where the woman realises she’s been eating sentient dumplings, but at least the blender gets reversed each time so there’s a sort of happy ending.

Tom: Nope. Not happy with it. It’s just deeply unpleasant. Which I suspect my have coloured my view of the music, too.

Tim: Ah. Well, when I can bring myself to tear my eyes away from the video, I think it’s pretty enjoyable – standard Bastille stuff, with some standard Seeb bits thrown around here and there.

Tom: Mm. I agree that it’s very definitely a mixture of two styles — but it doesn’t work for me in the way it worked for Bastille and Marshmello. Although to be fair, that one may have just grown on me through endless radio repetition.

Tim: Well, maybe this one will as well.

Bastille – Good Grief

Tom: Our reader, Alan, sends in the first single from Bastille’s new album. The video is very NSFW thanks to a surprising amount of artistic toplessness.

Tom: Brilliant video. Love the video. Love everything about the video.

Tim: It’s a fun video, certainly – not sure I quite get the overarching narrative, mind, but okay.

Tom: The song is… well, it’s Bastille.

Tim: Not just that, it’s good Bastille.

Tom: I can sing the chorus after one listen, so that’s a mark in its favour, and I’ll probably like it when it turns up on the radio — inevitably, repeatedly on the radio. But for some reason, as you can tell by that last, long, run-on sentence, there’s something cynical set up in my head.

I can’t work out why it hasn’t won me over. Is it just that I don’t like it, and the video distracted me?

Tim: I don’t know, because I do really like it. I listened again to be less distracted by the video, and I’ve heard it on the radio, and I’ve liked it whenever I’ve heard. Give it another go, why don’t you.

Tom: I will, but it’ll be while I’m gone. Our reader may have noticed some changes around here: partly that that’s because the site design was five years old, and partly because while I’m off for three weeks without an internet connection, someone is taking over for me. Tim, I’ll leave it with you.

Tim: I’ll try not to damage anything.

Bastille – Laura Palmer

“Still bloody good.”

Tim: The follow-up to Pompeii, and one of the stronger tracks off their album.

Tom: And that’s saying something – having heard it properly for the first time recently, it’s a bloody strong album.

Tim: There’s a proper video here, but it features one of the most annoying “you can’t record this” cuts I’ve ever heard, so we won’t watch that; we’ll have this, from the EP the song was originally released on about a year ago.

Tim: It’s not quite as brilliant as Pompeii was, but it’s still bloody good, and it’s got most of the same elements to it – good verses with decent instrumentation, a big hook in the chorus, lead singer Dan’s recognisable voice. (HISTORY LESSON: the band is called Bastille because he was born on Bastille Day, 14th July.)

Tom: I could have phrased this question before, but: who had this voice before him? In the same way that Neil Tennant has the same voice as Al Stewart, I mean. If this had been released five years ago, whose voice would everyone have ‘recognised’ as ‘that indie singer’? He’s got a bit of Scouting for Girls about him, but I don’t think that’s the right answer.

Tim: Good question, and I think the answer you’re looking for is Matthew from The Wombats. But let’s not distract ourselves: really, the only reason this isn’t as good as Pompeii is the fact that that had two great hooks and this only has one; “not having a second hook” is not a crime I would level at any other band, so I think we can let this slip. Bastille are quickly becoming my favourite ‘authentic’ band, and songs like this are speeding that process along nicely.

Tom: Agreed.

Bastille – Pompeii

This one’s got guitars as well.

Tim: As the risk of dragging this out too far: this one’s got guitars as well. Although they don’t come in for a while.

Tim: I know, and have found out, next to nothing about this band.

Tom: We’re dedicated to research here, folks.

Tim: Hey, I tried – there are at least two of them, because two is how many were being boringly interviewed on the radio last week, and they speak with English accents; that’s all I could get, apart from that they enjoy doing odd mashups at their live gigs.

Tom: I can’t even work out where that odd pronunciation of ‘close’ comes from.

Tim: Well, let’s just enjoy it, because I think there’s a lot to enjoy.

Tom: Yep, this is a cracking track, although I’m generally a sucker for fake-Latin chanting put into pop songs.

Tim: In which case, check out the first and last tracks on the first Hurts album. But back to here, instruments: starts out with some basic synth-work, add in the drum beats and it quickly speeds up. Get to the chorus, and that slightly epic chanting from the beginning makes a nice return, and the (ever-important) guitars jump in for a bit. The vocals are good as well – along with the aforementioned chanting, we have nicely paced verses and then some high energy choruses which all work very well.

Tom: Yep: all the little touches are there, and it’s bloody marvellous. And how about that middle eight? It’s not often you get a good drumline going on in pop.

Tim: It is indeed very good. There is, unfortunately, a disappointing as ever fade-out ending, but that’s nothing we cope with by pushing the ‘skip track’ button a few seconds early. So, good.

I also know there’s an album out in March. But I don’t know what it’s called.

Tom: “Bad Blood”. I bothered to look that up. And if it sounds like this, then I may well be getting a copy of it.