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ATP! Essential Listening: Bastille

If you can somehow manage to combine the backing track of ‘Angels’ by The XX with dialogue from Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ and your own cover of TLC’s ‘No Scrubs,’ chances are you may be a genius. After all, who could really think to do that, right? Well, London-based indie pop band Bastille could. In fact, they’ve come up with many a mix that are so far out there - Lana Del Rey and ‘Requiem For A Dream’ for example - it leaves listeners wondering how they could possibly come up with it, and how they could make it sound so good. And that’s only the stuff on their free mixtapes.

With such a strong foundation already, it’s no wonder the quartet’s debut album hit No. 1 on the UK charts in its first week. Vocalist/Lyricist Dan Smith, who originally started Bastille as a solo project, dishes out some of the cleanest vocals that lay masterfully over just about any music he puts them down on, both recorded and live. (In fact, they may even be better live.) From the more upbeat ‘Pompeii’ to the darker ‘Bad Blood’ and even the marimba-tinged ‘These Streets,’ Smith manages to give every song the band has released its own voice while still making it distinctly ring with Bastille flair.

Of course, it’d be remiss to not mention the rest of the band, as they bring just as much life to Bastille as Smith does. Chris Wood, better known as “Woody,” drives the music with his drumming, Will Farquarson provides the bass and Kyle Simmons can be found running the keyboard. What’s all the more impressive is that they all do this whilst also providing vocals and occasionally switching up the instrumentation.

The band took a break from their sold out UK tour to stop by South By South West, where they had their first three US performances ever and, by the end of every set, the general consensus was that they were amazing. If that isn’t a sign of the big things to come for them, we don’t know what is.

So if you, like this writer, love helping artists climb their way to the top, then you should certainly check these guys out.
Essential Listening: Pompeii

- Words by Victoria Patneaude

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