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Wild Beasts - 'Hooting & Howling'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:51 UK time, Thursday, 16 July 2009

Wild Beasts

Everyone got their hiking boots on? Machetes at the ready? Mosquito net secured in your backpacks? Good, we're going for a little wander into uncharted (and therefore unChartBlog) territory, and while it's very likely we will return transformed and improved by our experiences, there is an element of risk.

Check the name of the band if you don't believe me, we're heading into the section of the music map which is blank, save for the words "Here be monsters" and a drawing of a dragon eating a unicorn. The very least you will need is insect repellant.

(Here's the video. The BBC would like to point out that playing an electric guitar underwater is extremely unwise. It will warp.)

Of course, having broken through the first wave of foliage, into the badlands beyond, the first thing our party notices is that there's really nothing to be afraid of here. There's a sumptuous carpet of verdant greenery, covered in black and white piano blossoms, deep bushes of bass, guitar-nuts swaying in the breeze and rattling the tall canes in the treetops.

The only real point of departure from tame civilisation is the cooing wail of the local wildlife. It seems to be an elongated exchange between the lairy howler monkeys in the treetops and the more reserved bespectacled librarian-outangs, who dwell on the forest floor. Precise vocal clicks are met with coos and squeals, forming an intense curtain of sound which rises like smoke, and overwhelms everyone in earshot.

The anthropologists among us soon pick up that these grunts and coughs exist as a form of communication, a unifying thread between the two groups. All the violence and sexual aggression of the howlers is conveyed via the polite, refined etiquette of their lowly, brainier cousins, both sides acknowledging their dependence on the other, and so long as they all keep singing, an aura of peace and calm is maintained.

It takes some of our number several minutes to become accustomed to their strange vocalisations. But eventually we come to a common agreement that these unworldly squeals are among the finest of sounds in all of nature's glory. We're not even joking about that.

Five starsDownload: July 20th
CD Released: July 20th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

DVD EXTRA: Here's the moment Team ChartBlog first became aware that there were actual Wild Beasts out there...

It's Getting Boring By The Sea says: "The Kendal band have channeled all their awkward charm into a poetic masterpiece that boasts stunning lyrics and a less off putting vocal delivery"
Victorian Horror says: "Slightly like the love child of Antony Hegarty and Jeff Buckley."



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