The London-based, critically-acclaimed indie rock group Bastille is exploding in popularity. Their single “Pompeii” from debut album “Bad Blood” hit No. 10 on US Billboard Hot 100, while the album itself is No. 11 on Top 100. Bastille has also reached No. 3 on DigitalSpy’s list of top list of top albums in 2013 and has been nominated for four Brit Awards, including British Group, British Breakthrough Act and British Album of the Year.
Headed by frontman Dan Smith, Bastille’s synth-based songs are characterized by a strong percussion presence. Songs like “Bad Blood” and “These Streets” illustrate how the drums, piano and xylophone are the heartbeat of Bastille. The sheer range of sounds that this band utilizes in its music is truly amazing and lends each song a different feel. From the blaring guitar in “The Silence” to the sci-fi synth in “Laughter Lines” that’s paired with Smith’s haunting, resonant voice – the music is evocative and unmatched. One only has to listen to “Things We Lost in the Fire” or “Laura Palmer” to feel chills.
Not only is the overall effect brilliant, but the songs themselves hold thematic allusions that most modern day music lacks. “Pompeii” refers to how the eruption of Mount Vesuvius demolished the city of Pompeii, turning people into ashes. The video reflects the symbolism; just as Pompeii took a turn for the worst, the video shows Dan running away from people becoming black-eyed aliens. Other tracks make references to the Bible, such as the song “Daniel in the Den,” or Greek mythology, as does “Icarus.”
This band indubitably goes above and beyond in conveying themes of importance to its listeners, rather than the typical lyrical drivel about partying and bad lifestyles. “Flaws” illustrates how imperfection is part of the human condition: “All of your flaws and all of my flaws/ They lie there hand in hand/ Ones we’ve inherited, ones that we’ve learned/ They pass from man to man.” “Weight of Living Pt. 1″ describes overcoming hardship and letting go of pain by “shooting down your albatross,” while “Laura Palmer” encourages you to follow your passions by saying, “this is your heart, pumps through your veins, can you feel it?”
The lyrics tie the themes to modern day life. For example, in the song “Icarus,” he equates the fall of Icarus to the downfall of youth who live their lives in the fast lane. The way Smith crafted his lyrics yields music that is close to flawless.