Wild Beasts Two Dancers Lp Review

WILD BEASTS Two Dancers LP (Domino)

As legends go the one about Morrissey and Billy MacKenzie is not that well known and may not be true. Rumour has it that Steven Patrick wrote “William it was really nothing” about Billy MacKenzie. Billy in return sang a reply “Stephen you were really something.” What does all this have to do with our friends from Kendal via Leeds? Well, every time I listen to Two Beasts, I cannot help but be reminded of Billy, and his band the Associates. I think it is mainly the falsetto of Hayden Thorpe,  but the whole feel of the album reminds me of Sulk. (Associates third LP released in 1982 including the hits Party Fears Two and Club Country) As befits a web magazine dedicated to all things northern there are other similarities too. The boys from the lakes in a recent Uncut (Dec 2009 Take 151) interview spoke of their fears that to be both northern and intelligent could not possibly be possible. “To be northern and intelligent almost seems like the ultimate non-sequitur these days. If you’re a group and you’ve got the northern thing you’re not meant to also have the arty thing.” Tom Fleming, Bass and Baritone. We here at theNorthernline share these fears, as did Billy MacKenzie all those years ago. He was a shy working-class boy from Dundee who kept whippets. The media in London didn’t have a clue what to make of him. Billy certainly had the northern thing and most definitely the arty thing. “Versace down the chip shop.” as Bono described him. I think the Wild Beasts have both too. Their album is a masterpiece in invention. Stand out tracks abound. New single  All the King’s men with its line about “Girls from Whitby“  is a sure fire hit that we will all be singing along to soon. Opening track The Fun Powder Plot with its superb couplet of “This is a booty call- my boot up your asshole. This is a Freudian slip- my slipper in your bits” mixes the arty with the hooligan in a way not done so since Jarvis was in his prime. They admit to being influenced by The Smiths which is good but also by Springsteen which is so bad it might actually be good! They hail from the rain sodden fields of Kendal but now reside in the side streets of Leeds. They are managed by Bad Sneakers and are on Domino records home of The Arctic Monkeys. Search out their album and give it a listen. Also search out Billy MacKenzies solo album Beyond the Sun released in 1997. Sadly, after the forgotten genius had killed himself in January of that year.  As the great man might say “Wild Beasts you are really something”.

By peter on November 21, 2009


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  1. The Associates were most certainly one of the most outstanding bands, ever!
    Billy MacKenzie had a voice like no other, what a tragedy.

    Comment by Tamara — December 5, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

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