With an electronic studio sound and acoustic live harmonies, London-based Bastille made the jump to American audiences this year with last month’s release of Bad Blood. Haunting vocals and deep lyrics define their music, yet the band maintains a style uniquely its own.
Bastille grabbed my attention this spring with a string of YouTube videos featuring acoustic performances in unconventional locations. “Pompeii”, the first single off the album, sparked the interest of the British Museum in London where a Pompeii exhibit was being featured. Bastille accepted an invitation to perform live in the museum exhibit, producing a promo video for both the museum and the band. However, more than the venue makes this performance unique. Lead singer, Dan Smith, shows off his amazing range and acoustic guitar features prominently, but percussion is the real stand-out with backbeats produced exclusively through a combination of slaps and claps. The band members’ synchronization is impressive and effortless. This live performance is too cool to ignore.
The versatility of this band does not stop there. The group of four has released numerous covers from a wide range of artists and genres. One of my personal favorites is their rendition of “No Scrubs” originally performed by female hip-hop trio TLC. While a very untraditional choice for male alternative performers, the cover is flawless. Similarly, Lana del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” is reworked to fit their style. Most recently, the band covered Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” with a sampling of “Achy Breaky Heart”, a clever nod to Miley’s dad, Billy Ray. Bastille shows their strength by managing to maintain a unique identity even while performing pop hits.
Whether you are an alternative music lover or pop chart-obsessed, Bastille will be your new favorite band. Addictive studio songs and inventive covers will have you hooked. This talented group demands your attention.