This is a review of "Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants" recorded by Wild Beasts. The review was written by Richard Garnett in 2006.
It would be wholly unfair to say that the stir Wild Beasts have been causing on the Leeds scene of late was entirely down to the fact that they have a lead singer with one of the most unusual vocal styles around. But there is no escaping Hayden Thorpe’s semi-operatic eunuch styled tones. With this their debut release they are guaranteed to divide opinion right down the middle between those that get and those that don’t. Think Anthony and The Johnsons with guitars and masculinity. There is plenty of evidence however, that this is not just the emperor’s new clothes. As a band, Wild Beasts have plenty of musical charm in the locker which underpins Thorpe’s operatic whoops, sounding a little like Orange Juice and early folk-era James with the same British sensibility for the classic as British Sea Power. The sublime chopping solo on flip side Old Dog shows there is much more to come. But as a single Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants is not the breakthrough masterpiece some may have been hoping for. Interesting and haunting, yes, but the long and short of it is the melody gets lost in the woo-wee-woos and a simpler hook to contrast with the fiddly should perhaps have been considered. Far better to divide opinion than not and as history proves for everyone who doesn’t get it there will always be plenty who do.