Doom Days: Bastille Album Review
by brittney williams
bastille, the south london based band, finally dropped their highly anticipated third record doom days. the self-described ‘apocalyptic party’ record, which is also essentially a concept record, is based on a raucous night out as the world is ending. every track is time-stamped with a corresponding theme or situation as well. bastille (dan smith, will farquarson, kyle simmons, and chris “woody” wood) on doom days find a peculiar home with their most fun and cohesive album to date, despite the gloomy title and what might seem like an odd subject matter.
doom days is the band's most “pop” record. the production is slick, crisp, clear, and radio ready, although each track takes inspiration and cue from multiple genres. the album simply screams pop music. lead singer dan smith’s every vocal intonation is clear and precise, his vocal prowess more evident with this record. the rock guitars and other live instruments blend seamlessly with the pop electronic instrumentation. the use of the bands' favorite movies in lyrics is as clever as ever; (“groundhog evening, dancing on the ceiling kubrick’s hollywood”).
the “apocalyptic party” night opens on “quarter past midnight”. the track that was first released early last year and urgently screams chaotic nights out and is most the british sounding track on the record. the night has only begun as it’s only 00:15. as “quarter past midnight” careens into “bad decisions” the fun and bouncy pop/r&b ode to well... making bad decisions. the juxtaposition of the lyrics and music have you questioning if you’re even making “bad decisions” at all. “the waves” quietly creeps in with the ticking of a clock and some new guests, best laid plans artist kianja, touring bandmate charlie barnes and singer bim amoako-gyampah. they all feature as background vocalists. before you realize it’s 1:22 and you feel as if “the waves” are crashing over you. it’s a highly emotional and beautiful song. that same feeling and intensity are carried onto the next track “divide”, that is piano-led and very melancholic, a self-reflective track of sorts. we hit a left turn and switch gears at 2:39 to “a million pieces” a hard-hitting garage and house track that is the epitome of the album and the theme. the second most british track on the album. the second single released “doom days” follows continuing with a certain sinister vibe, it’s also straight r&b. “nocturnal creatures” is the only track on the record that feels slightly out of place. but the uniqueness in its sound and vocals turns it around for me. as we arrive at “4 am,” it’s late or early and the song feels hazy and warm like that. the hedonistic night is fading to an end, but friends are still here and that’s all that truly matters right? that is until self-doubts from a probable one night stand on "another place" turn into worries of ending up alone forever on “those nights.” on both tracks, they are the most provocative tracks bastille has put out to date (the entire album is.) but they are also some of the most honest and intimate, the latter being a mid-tempo bop for a lifetime. the “apocalyptic party” record ends on “joy” the morning after the debauchery yet not with regrets, but with hope. as the track ruminates over getting a call (or notice) from the one person that can get you out of a stupor. “joy” is a fun song. it sounds and feels just like that.
from the blurry beginnings of a night out to the bright joyful ending the next morning, “doom days” immerses you in that world with only eleven songs. it’s a fun and fast-paced emotional driven narrative, that allows the listener to peel back the many layers on every listen. bastille is growing as a band reaching new fans in the process, all the while keeping their hardcore fan base intact for the ride as well. it’s certain to be a wild one.
standout tracks: bad decisions, the waves, divide, a million pieces, 4 am, those nights.