Say what you will about Bastille, but their tried-and-true formula has yet to fail. ‘Give Me The Future’ sees the band dive headfirst into science fiction, where they toy with reality and explore the tech epoch. Frontman Dan Smith began developing the idea pre-pandemic – Perhaps a premonition of sorts? So when the world shut down and a whole new one opened online, a perfect storm formed where Smith’s brainchild could thrive. Tech skepticism, fantasy becoming actuality and the line between fact and fiction blurring beyond recognition have forever permeating pop culture. Many take a cynical view of the future and it’s hard not to when everything keeps going tits up. Bastille steers away from typical attitudes to offer a less sensationalised and pessimistic spin on things. Instead, they surrender control and leave judgment at the door as they prepare to take on the future.
If these themes leave you feeling overwhelmed, the playful slew of dancefloor fillers will ease the tension. Grooving their way around an uneasy subject matter, Bastille sucks listeners into their playful vision of a dystopian universe. References to the works of Orwell, Huxley and Philip K. Dick run amok. ‘Distorted Light Beam’ invites listeners into his inner world as Smith sings, “It isn’t enough, if this is real life, I’ll stick to dreaming, come see what I see”. ‘No Bad Days’ gives listeners a helping hand and leaves little room for negative thoughts. Award winning actor, Riz Ahmed, breaks up the album with a performance of Promises halfway. On ‘Future Holds’, BIM (who fans will recognize from many Bastille gigs) features alongside Smith with her rich and soaring vocals as they close the album – An uplifting and heartwarming way to ties things up as they sing, “who knows what the future holds, don’t matter if I got you.”
The strong and consistent storyline creates a whole world where fans will get lost and find themselves again. Being the film buff that he is, it’s easy to understand Smith’s need to treat each album and performance as a cinematic experience. Although many of the songs can hold their own on playlists and radio, it is best enjoyed in full sequence and especially when you’re in need of some levity. ‘Give Me The Future’ achieves everything a pop album should and stands out as Bastille’s best and most expansive work. The narrative is compelling and successfully paints the picture of a universally relatable topic. The songs hook themselves right in and latch on for dear life, because there’s no way they’ll let you off easily forgetting them. The production and arrangements are imaginative and interesting, with a creative use of techniques from different genres and eras. Their fourth album showcases their ability to evolve and adapt in order to remain relevant, while still maintaining that distinctly Bastille sound.
Most of all, it’s just nice not to be depressed about the future and have some fun with it instead. ‘Give Me The Future’ offers listeners a healthy amount of escapism to push through and adopt a degree of optimism. Because in the end, it’s happening, there’s not much to be done, so just get on with it and try your best to enjoy the ride. As Riz Ahmed states halfway, “The world’s burning but fuck it”.
Words: Yasmin Cowan
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