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CD of The Week

Week of 6/17/19

    Bastille - Doom Days (Virgin)

    After what seems like an eternity of teases, collaborations, and premature comments of its existence, Bastille has finally released their third album, Doom Days.

    Consistently referred to as an "apocalyptic party album," Doom Days serves as a concept album taking place over one long, emotional night. We're given an exact time as to when the events begin, as the album opens with lead single "Quarter Past Midnight." Setting the tone for what's to come, the song reaffirms what we've come to love about Bastille – seamlessly mixing alternative rock with EDM, strong lyrics and vocal harmonies to convey big-picture imagery.

    Continuing on is "Bad Decisions," as the party is now in full force. Frontman Dan Smith writes his lyrics about the outside world, but wanting to forget it all just for one night. "London's burning / If the world is ending, let's stay up all night," he croons in the first verse, later admitting there have been regretful choices that were made, but to "take a bow" and to continue to "make the same mistakes till the morning breaks."

    From there, the album continues on a roller coaster of an evening. "The Waves" is seemingly an ode to the repercussions of the aforementioned bad decisions, even wondering, "What would your mother say if she could see what we're doing now?" The party continues with "Divide," a piano-and-vocal ballad about reveling in the night, and existing in a politically and socially divided landscape.

    As the night marches on, we come to the title track of the album, "Doom Days." The song starts with Smith singing, "When I watch the world burn, all I think about is you," longing for the company of friends and loved ones as he continues to sing about repercussions of climate change, political strife, and how the constant barrage of the 24-hour news cycle makes it feel like we're "live streaming the final days of Rome."

    Coming to another song that shows exactly what time it is in the night, "4AM" sees a grateful Smith singing over a subtle guitar melody. "There is nowhere I would rather be, never felt more comfortable, could never want for more when I'm here." As the album progresses, Smith sings of temporary companionship in "Another Place," and longing for deeper connections in "Those Nights." The journey comes to an end with "Joy," a reflection on the night – lamenting regrets and wishing for more, only to be snapped back to reality by a phone call from someone who always knows when you're down.

    In an interview with Billboard, Smith had mentioned he "wanted to make a weird, oddball version of a quote-unquote party record. I quite like the idea of being a passive observer at a house party and seeing all the ridiculous, stupid sh** people do and say." Doom Days channels this idea as an 11-song reenactment of a night to get away from it all, have a little fun, enjoy some company, and deal with the consequences later.

    Bastille returns to Philly on Monday, September 16th at The Met.

    Review by Dan Baker

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