Album Review Bastille - Give Me The Future

Bastille’s choral, digestible power pop DNA is present, but grittier than usual.

Bastille - Give Me The Future

Welcome to Dan Smith’s dystopia. Electro-pop juggernauts Bastille have lost their boyish charm in their latest eschatological instalment ‘Give Me The Future’, swapping it for cynical future-gazing, dark hooks and synth wave influences that paint a sinister picture of disenchanted millennial apathy. 2019’s ‘Doom Days’ marked the inception of the group’s increasingly apocalyptic themes, moving away from the delightful playfulness of their first record ‘Bad Blood’. ‘Give Me The Future’ dives deeper down the rabbit hole and sees Dan predicting a post-human landscape, occupied by sentient machines, rioting and VR-obsessed humans. Bastille’s choral, digestible power pop DNA is present, but grittier than usual. Dan muses about the woes of modern life in ‘Thelma + Louise’. ‘No Bad Days’ is a proud, raw example of moody electro-pop with an endearing robotic effect on his voice drawing attention to the building of buoyant beats, interrupted by a slick and queasy piano lick post-chorus. Yet, the record expresses a curiosity towards the potential of future tech without ever explicitly detailing what outcomes they fear and why. All ‘Plug In…’ offers is a droll list of these upsetting inevitabilities: “Maybe AI is the Messiah” indicating a somewhat surface level analysis of the concept that actually has potential to give this album some heft. This futurist angle lends itself to Bastille’s arena presence, and will translate to a prodigious live show with racing lights, pyro and loaded confetti cannons. However the concept’s narrative is lost in Dan Smith’s ineffable desire to turn each track he touches into a yearning love song. Orwell wrote zealously of unrequited love in dystopian settings, but with the undercurrent of socio-political upheaval, thundering authoritarianism and the fear of stepping out of line ever present, it gave the story impact. Dan simply forges a love story and drops loose references to dystopian literature to create significantly less impact.

 

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