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Published on July 8th, 2019 | by voxx

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Bastille – Doom Days

The end is nigh: the inventive pop outfit’s ambitious, apocalypse-themed concept album…

Whether you’d fancy spending your last 45 minutes on Earth listening to Bastille might depend on the extent to which you’ve fallen for the band’s genre-agnostic gloom-pop since 2013 debut LP Bad Blood. For existing fans, Doom Days, a concept album situated in the final moments of an unspecified apocalypse, covers familiar ground: lyrics expressing bewilderment in a world gone mad, set to music flitting between pop, dance and R&B.

What elevates Doom Days above its predecessors and may well win the group new fans three albums in, is how effectively it perfects their blueprint. The melodies are stronger, the quietly audacious ‘Those Nights’, for instance, taking ‘80s synths, gospel, dubstep and a sax solo into its glorious sweep. The production, conjuring claustrophobia in arena-sized songs, is more inventive. Bouncy, tropical house-flavoured ‘Another Place’ is peppered with breakdowns and is as perfectly structured as the best current pop has to offer. Simply put, it’s a Bastille album, but better.

Dan Smith remains a keen devourer of pop culture. New Jack Swing-influenced ‘Bad Decisions’ manages to reference Groundhog Day, Lionel Richie and Kubrick in the space of four seconds. The album’s title track, meanwhile, covers A Clockwork Orange, The Picture Of Dorian Gray, The Matrix and Alice In Wonderland alongside climate change denial, phone addiction, the last days of Rome, religion and Brexit. It manages to also make the entire thing a love song and is done in just over two minutes: a précis of an album overflowing with ambition and ideas.

- By Jake White


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