Across their five studio albums, Wild Beasts established themselves as one of Britain’s best bands, critical darlings that underwent a gorgeously considered progression across their decade and a half as a band, before their untimely split a year ago. Much of their charm was tied up in the fantastic, glacial vocals of Hayden Thorpe, and when those distinctive tones glide in at the start of the frontman’s debut solo single, ‘Diviner’, it’s with a comforting familiarity.
That’s not to say ‘Diviner’ doesn’t push boundaries, though. Wild Beasts’ final album, 2016’s ‘Boy King’, traded their cardigans and regal alt-pop for leather jackets and spunky, sexual stabs of filthy guitars, and ‘Diviner’ sees a return to a cleaner, calmer sound. “I’m a keeper of secrets, pray to tell,” Hayden sings in the track’s opening line, a wonderfully evocative whisper that provokes immediate intrigue.
“There are, if we can wait for them, rare days of alignment,” he says of the song. “Diviner was written on such a day, my birthday of all days. The curtains were drawn for a while, I went inside. To say I’m delighted to see daylight would be an understatement.”
The song carries an understandable weight as such, one of breakthroughs and new beginnings. Circling around a perfectly simple but gorgeous flick of piano that rises above slowly thudding chords, ‘Diviner’ is a wonderful introduction into Hayden’s next age, an ode to quietly, confidently moving on.