Bastille’s Bad Blood

Erin Fox, Managing Editor

British indie pop band Bastille has recently made its debut into the American music scene with its first full length album, “Bad Blood.”

Bastille originally began as the solo project of lead singer Dan Smith, who named the band after the French independence day, which is also his birthday.

All of the songs off “Bad Blood” were written and initially recorded by Smith in his bedroom while attending college. He was later joined by bassist Will Farquarson, keyboard player Kyle Simmons, and drummer Chris Wood.

           The opening track “Pompeii” features Wood’s lyrical voice accompanied by a harmonic, chanting chorus. According to the UK’s official streaming chart, “Pompeii” holds the record for the longest stretch atop the British music charts, maintaining its spot for seven weeks. The lyrics discuss the tragic loss and destruction of a famed Roman city, yet is an anthem of defiance.

The same apocalyptic and optimistic themes are also found in “Things We Lost in the Fire.” This tells the story of a couple metaphorically watching their relationship burn down and picking through the ashen rubble, searching for what can be reclaimed.

Although the title is repeated throughout the song a total of nine times, it still manages to be catchy, not annoying. The album and especially the song has an inspiring quality, describing a youthful refusal to live in despair.

Many of the songs off “Bad Blood” are made with many complex layers in musical dimension, with a fusion of both traditional and pop elements. The album’s namesake “Bad Blood” is no exception. This organ-backed track pleads for the bad blood in a relationship to dry, up because “As the friendship goes resentment grows” and eventually “We will walk our different ways.”

The third single to come off the album is the uplifting “Flaws,” which expresses the emotional core of “Bad Blood.” The lyrics, “You have always your flaws upon your sleeve / And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground” demonstrate Smith’s introverted self.

Allusions to Greek mythology are found in “Icarus,” the boy who wore fake wings made out of wax, ignored his father’s warning and died by flying too close to the sun. But the song describes a person who’s “digging his own grave” and ruining himself by excessive drinking and partying, although his life has just begun. It goes against the “YOLO” mindset because this person is trying to do adult things and grow up too fast, but by doing this he is “flying towards an early grave” and may soon experience a fall.

The fast-paced album does slow down a bit with the track “Oblivion,” a haunting piano-backed track that repeats the lyrics “Are you going to age with grace?” This bittersweet tune has an intimate usage of strings, which heightens the song’s emotions. This song demonstrates that Bastille is able to master both upbeat and slow songs on the album.

After a captivating 43 minutes, “Bad Blood” then closes with “Get Home,” a track with soothing vocals and lingering instrumentation.  Smith’s question “How am I gonna get myself back home?” is reverberated throughout the song, along with the wistful lines of “To the morning we’re cast out / But I know I’ll land here again.”

Although the album depicts destruction and doomsday, the end of the world doesn’t seem so bad with when there are albums such as Bad Blood that exist.

Bastille will be performing Saturday night at Live 105’s Not So Silent Night at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.