Four young men bursting onto a post-Strokes music scene in a town in northern England were not supposed to sound so sensitive, sensual and self-critical. The mid-noughties rulebook did not have room for genres as diverse as ambient electronica and libidinous R&B, nor falsetto shrieks or strange literary laddishness. These four young men paid no attention to any rulebook.
The town in northern England was Kendal and the four young men were, of course, Wild Beasts. The band, initially called Fauves, cut their teeth on Kendal’s intimidating blues bar circuit; their adopted masculine swagger just enough “to hold their skeletons up” each day. However, with the release of their debut full-length, Limbo, Panto, in 2008, any suspicion that they were prepared to accept the norm, the status quo, was completely out of the question. Rife with astonishingly confident individuality and perverse Lake District beauty, their debut heralded a run of albums that crowned Wild Beasts as leaders of sexy, morally-conscious rock, full of beauty and eerie tension in equal measure. 2009’s Two Dancers and 2011’s Smother gently included more electronic elements, resulting in the gleaming 1980s sparkle of 2014’s Present Tense.
In September 2017, Wild Beasts sadly announced that they would be calling it a day. This announcement came just over a year after the release of Boy King, their final studio album and one, in their words, that “felt just like the first in its fuck you spirit, in its unfashionableness and its sense of self-destruction”. As the snake began to eat its tail, the band decided that now was the time to call it quits – the time to end things on their own accord. Ever in front of the bandwagon in their lyrical themes – toxic masculinity, gender fluidity and class conflict – Wild Beasts leave us with one final offering: Last Night All My Dreams Came True, a live album recorded in RAK Studios showcasing Kendal’s finest as tight and as slick as they’ve ever been.