Music review: Bastille, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

Bastille performing at Edinburgh's Summer Sessions in Princes Street Gardens
Bastille performing at Edinburgh's Summer Sessions in Princes Street Gardens
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ONE of the more interesting and questioning British pop bands of their time, Bastille aren’t afraid to reflect the spirit of the age in uncompromising – and possibly slightly over-egged – fashion. “This next song is incredibly depressing and bleak, it offers no hope whatsoever but we like playing it,” says lead singer Dan Smith, polite and well-spoken, before World Gone Mad. “Sorry, I’m really s**t at talking about our songs.”

Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh ****

The group’s sound and style doesn’t match up to such doomy rhetoric, with Smith bearing a voice which soars into the kind of hopeful question mark popularised by X-Factor winners, even as his tone is perfectly suited to the icy keyboard lines of some of their darker tracks.

Bastille are a band who lean into the zeitgeist even as their era-specific sound might date them over time.

For the moment, however, their sound is perfect for their young target audience, from the shivering,

xylophone-sounding keys of These Streets to the hint of something approaching cheerfulness during Warmth and the crowd favourite Laura Palmer.

With a song in their set – The Currents – explicitly written as a reaction to populism and their upcoming third album Doom Days apparently acting as a kind of anti-state of the world address, Bastille are a relative rarity – an unashamed pop group who apparently wish to connect in a tangible way with the world around them. On this evidence, much of their generation is with them all the way. DAVID POLLOCK