The English alternative band Bastille re-released their North American breakthrough album “Bad Blood” on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
No new songs on the album present the qualities of a single, which should be characteristic of any re-release.
“All This Bad Blood” features a two-disc album with the original tracks on the first CD and 14 new songs that did not make the original debut.
Three of the 14 tracks are only quasi-new releases. “The Silence,” “Weight of Living Part II” and “Laughter Lines” were all bonus tracks on the original “Bad Blood” album.
The other 11 songs featured on the re-release reveal much deeper cuts and mixtapes that did not make the original release. Lead man Dan Smith told Gigwise.com that the new songs are more a complete representation of the band’s overall work and a glimpse of what listeners should prepare for in the future.
It makes sense the new songs on “All This Bad Blood” did not make the cut.
Re-releases give artists a chance to experiment more with their sound without the pressures of making a splash on the charts or in record sales.
Smith and his bandmates fully embraced the freedom.
The first couple tracks on the second CD sound like they could have made the debut album. These tracks feature upbeat songs based on layered synthesized instrumentals surrounding Smith’s voice.
The overall vibe of the lyrics presents the largest difference. Bastille never strays away from serious themes but in the second disc, the tracks get deeper and darker.
Two of the first several tracks on the album, “Poet” and “Haunt,” do a successful job controlling a creative chaos. But the lyrics indicate more heartbreak than previous hits.
Both songs center around the period after a broken relationship. In “Poet,” Smith makes the point that he will use his prose to tell the world about the breakup. The first line of the chorus reads, “I have written you down / Now you will live forever.”
“Haunt” offers similar sentiments to a past relationship when Smith sings out, “I come back to haunt you / Memories will taunt you.”
The instrumentals used in the new songs present one surprise. Usually Bastille offers meticulously produced music with clean transitions and recordings.
It was nice to see more raw first takes of the instruments and Smith’s voice. Prime examples of the raw sound would be a rougher recording of Smith’s voice on the song “Durban Skies” and the bands use of actual guitars with heavy gain on “The Draw.”
About halfway through the second disc, things take a hard turn for the different. Starting with the song “Previously On Other People’s Heartache” the album becomes very experimental.
The last couple tracks are not for the average alternative fan. But some of the risks the band took yielded so interesting hidden gems.
The band takes a more realistic approach to the lyrics when it covers early 2000s hip-hop and R&B; song “What Would You Do” by City High.
The last song of the album, “Turning Out…” is an unusual mixtape. The unusual final song of the album, “Turning Out” features Smith’s take on the holiday classic “O Holy Night,” using some of Bastille’s incredible harmonies.
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