Gig review: Bastille, Edinburgh

Bastille. Picture: Contributed
Bastille. Picture: Contributed
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GIVEN their ever-escalating success, it seemed almost as though we were enjoying an intimate early-career show by London electro-pop group Bastille on Thursday night, before they finally find their way to the arena circuit.

Bastille - Corn Exchange, Edinburgh

* * *

With a recent BRIT Award for best breakthrough group, a debut album, Bad Blood, which has lingered at or near the top of the UK album chart in the year since its release and significant dents made in the US charts, their rise seems unstoppable.

On this evidence, it seems largely deserved. Dressed all in casual black and bathed in a striking light show, singer and sole founder of the group Dan Smith and his bandmates do flatter to deceive on occasion, and in truth their biggest songs – like Flaws, in which he bemoans the “hole in my soul”, and the driving upbeat melodies of huge international hit Pompeii – are merely high-quality radio playlist fodder.

Their breezy, moderately memorable choruses and a sleek contemporary sound combine Smith’s yearning vocal and a bassy pop backing which lingers upon voguish dance music influences.

Yet when the band step away from their nicely manicured central style they really come into their own, for example the growling grunge thrill of The Draw, rough-edged against the rest of the show, and a new track featuring rapper and support act Angel Haze which strays into speaker-wobbling dubstep territory on the chorus. When Smith’s lyrics shift from communal platitudes there’s definite depth to them, while Of the Night’s mash-up of kitsch club classics Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap and Rhythm of the Night by Corona was audacious and amusing.

Seen on 27.02.14