By: Katie Christoff – Asst. A&E Editor
By now, you may have heard a song called “Pompeii” by Bastille. The song’s catchy beat made it the perfect alternative rock anthem of the summer, but the band has since proven it’s capable of much more than one summer hit.
The London-based band released its debut studio album, “Bad Blood,” to United Kingdom audiences in March 2013 and more recently in the United States on Sept. 3. The band’s alternative rock and synthpop sounds catapulted them to immediate success, debuting at number one on the U.K. Albums Chart and securing a place on the U.S. Billboard 200.
Frontman Dan Smith took his time putting the project together and perfecting his sound – he began Bastille as a solo project in 2010, but later recruited band members Kyle Simmons, Will Farquarson and Chris Wood.
Its first official single, “Overjoyed,” was released through Virgin Records and failed to chart due to lack of promotion. Although the ballad wonderfully showcases Smith’s haunting and significant vocals, it’s not the album’s most appealing track.
Its second single was the album’s title track, “Bad Blood.” This did considerably better, but it wasn’t until it’s third single, “Flaws,” that Bastille made a name for themselves and established their place on the U.K. charts.
The fourth single from “Bad Blood” quickly proved the most popular and successful – “Pompeii” is the band’s best-selling single to date. The single also established their international presence, topping charts in Ireland, Scotland, the U.K. and the U.S. If you lived under a rock all summer and haven’t heard this song, I highly encourage you to check it out – Smith’s impressive vocals and the catchy beat come together to create the perfect track for studying, driving or even getting ready to go out with friends.
This versatility is not just true of “Pompeii” – many of Bastille’s tracks could be considered calm and upbeat at the same time – and this is a large part of their appeal. If you’re still as obsessed with “Pompeii” as I am, check out “Laura Palmer,” the band’s fifth single, which has already been subjected to some pretty awesome remixes as well.
The sixth and most recent single, “Things We Lost in the Fire,” is another upbeat tune and, similarly to “Pompeii” and “Laura Palmer,” utilizes repetitive music and lyrics. It took a while to grow on me, but once you listen enough it becomes nearly impossible to stop.
The immediate success of Bastille’s first album has prompted the British band to release a follow-up, “All This Bad Blood,” an extended version of “Bad Blood.” Set for release Monday, Nov. 25, the new album will feature unreleased singles that are even better than the more mainstream songs on “Bad Blood.”
Even if you’re not a fan of Bastille’s genre, Smith’s vocals are reason enough to give the album a try, as carries the songs to another level. I don’t think I’d be as much of a fan without the quality his voice adds to each track.
If you’re already a fan of the band, I recommend checking out its covers of popular tunes – I can’t stop listening to its cover of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop,” which is oh-so-cleverly mashed up with her famous father’s hit “Achy Breaky Heart.” Bastille’s “Requiem for Blue Jeans” is also an excellent cover of sultry songstress Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans.”
Although only emerging recently onto the international music scene, British alternative rock band Bastille has already proven quite versatile. From slow ballads to chart-topping summer hits to mainstream pop covers, Bastille has a little something for everyone. The band has been dominating my “Top 25 Most Played” list on iTunes ever since I heard “Pompeii,” and I highly recommend giving “Bad Blood” a listen if you haven’t already.