Looking through the extensive musical bill for Latitude, there aren’t many artists making a return from last year’s line-up. But on Saturday on the Uncut Stage, Kendal’s extraordinary Wild Beasts will be making a much-deserved second visit to Henham Park.
I first saw Wild Beasts – caught like mild woodland creatures, more accurately – at the leafy Sunrise Arena last year. They were defiantly odd, and quite terrific; a beguiling mixture, as I’ve said ad nauseam ever since, of Billy Mackenzie, The Smiths and Orange Juice. Since then, Wild Beasts have been regularly featured over at Wild Mercury Sound, where regular readers have been split over this heroically polarising quartet.
Most of the issues stem from Hayden Thorpe‘s disturbingly untethered falsetto, which is hard for some listeners to stomach. I think it’s strikingly brilliant, not least because of the slightly menacing whimsy of his lyrics: I now have a finished copy of the album with a lyric sheet which reveals that, amongst other things, “Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyant” features the lines, “Slap the face of Aristotle/ Race me, race me, race me, race me/ In yer fourth hand jalopy.”
So that’s good. Wild Beasts certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, but they’re one of the most interesting and idiosyncratic British bands to emerge in the past 18 months. Worth checking out at the very least, surely?