BASTILLE play the Phoenix September 25. Rating: NN
There's nothing wrong with having an anthem on a record. A couple, even. But the debut synth-pop-rock album by British four-piece Bastille clobbers you with an unrelenting barrage of them. (Note to the band: your Summer Olympics were last year.)
The record starts strong with Pompeii - a huge hit in the UK, where the album's been out since March. But all the pummelling drums, melodramatic piano and unsubtle hits of electronica that follow make the rest of the album pretty samey. At best, lead singer Dan Smith channels early Chris Martin (Overjoyed) or Florence and the Machine (Things We Lost In The Fire). At worst, the chanting male choruses evoke a synthified Mumford & Sons or veer awfully close to Chumbawamba.
Lyrics are corny and sometimes funny. "Are you going to age with grace?", "You wear all your flaws on your sleeve," Smith tells/asks his lover on Oblivion and Flaws respectively. With lines like those, Smith should have fodder for heartbreak albums galore.
Top track: Pompeii