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Bad Blood [Bonus Tracks] ()

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Bad Blood reveals that Bastille is a synth-driven band that isn't particularly arty, something of a rarity during the electronic pop revival of the 2000s and 2010s. Where many of their contemporaries used the glamour of synth-pop's '80s heyday and electronic music's infinite possibilities to craft shiny pop fantasies, Bastille builds on the glossy, anthemic approach they set forth on the Laura Palmer EP (the title track, which is included here, might also be the least arty song inspired by David Lynch's surreal soap opera Twin Peaks ). Early highlights like "Pompeii," "These Streets," and the title track boast panoramic choruses and sleek arrangements that hint at a kinship with Empire of the Sun and Delphic, while the handclaps and popping bassline on the otherwise moody "Icarus" recall Hot Chip at their most confessional. However, most of Bad Blood suggests that Bastille are actually an electronically enhanced upgrade of sweeping British pop traditionalists like Keane or Coldplay. The band updates "Oblivion"'s piano balladry with ping-ponging drums and contrasts Dan Smith's throaty singing and searching lyrics ("There's a hole in my soul/Can you fill it?") with a tumbling beat on "Flaws." Like the aforementioned acts, Bastille has a way with heartfelt melodies and choruses that resonate, particularly on the driving "Things We Lost in the Fire" and "Get Home," where the slightly processed vocals also evoke Sia, Imogen Heap, and other electronic-friendly singer/songwriters. While the band occasionally gets a little too self-serious on the album's second half, Bad Blood is a solid, polished debut that fans of acts like Snow Patrol (who don't mind more electronics in the mix) might appreciate more than synth-pop aficionados. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi Hide synopsis

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