Wild Beasts - Last Night All My Dreams Came True
by Robbie Taylor
Last Night All My Dreams Came True is Wild Beast’s last hurrah as a band and is a combination of a live album and a greatest hits. This means that I can’t really level the usual complaints about a lack of new material as Wild Beasts have admitted that they don’t having any more songs in them. If there is a point that any band can put out this type of album, it is at their end as a celebration of their musical career.
However, having said this I do not understand why this is a live album. All of the tracks were recorded at the RAK studio in London and unless they are being silent it appears that there is no live audience. This removes the sense of the energy of live performance that is achieved in the best live albums and is even more bizarre considering Wild Beast popularity as a live band. This begs the question of why they couldn’t have re-recorded all of these songs. This could have potentially given scope for making interesting changes to both old and new songs. Maybe some of the older release could have been re-imagined in the more electronic style of The Boy King.
In place of this a more predicable outcome appears: The Live Songs sound pretty much how they originally did. The exceptions to this are the songs from Wild Beast’s last studio album, The Boy King. These are originally had a very electronic, polished, sound. This was done beautifully and was part of what made it such an excellent album. However, in these live versions a more organic sound is offered. It is more obvious that Guitars and drum sets have been used rather than synths. This produces a much looser, more organic, sound. The best example of this is Big Cat in which sharp synthy bass and drums are replaced by what is unmistakably a bass guitar and some excellent echoey drums. This is not better or worse than the original, just different and that is something that is definitely welcome. Ultimately, the album is at its best when it offers a more organic sound: the guitar hook on Hooting and Howling is a notable example of this.
At, this point it is time to enter the murky pool of lyric analysis. Once you take anything but a cursory glance it becomes clear that bizarre references to Big Cats (an unself-conscious reference to literal wild beasts), the Devil’s Crayon (whatever that is) and Celestial Beasts hide a disconcerting and frankly at times downright creepy world of sex and violence. At this point we can only hope that these were comments on the toxicity of masculinity. If it is anything else, we are probably best not thinking about it too much a returning to the more superficial sensuality that makes Wild Beast so appealing.
Now, instead of any attempt at deep lyric analysis I am instead talk about some of my favourite lyrics.
The album opener, Wanderlust, prominently features the line “don’t mistake me for someone who gives a f**k”. I can’t help but suspect that the placement of this is intentional with this being a put down for anyone who complains about Wild Beasts ending their run as a band. However, it could just be what it appears to be: an overly aggressive expression of apathy.
“Big cat, top of the food chain” from Big Cat is another aggressive line this time chosen simply because it sounds cool. A lot of the time this ‘coolness’, for want of a better word, is enough to get me to listen to Wild Beasts.
Moving on, He The Colossus offers the amusing “you can stuff your chastity”. This is just a combination of immaturity and sex that I can’t help but find kind of funny. I will leave this line with my first thought on hearing it: that’s one way of dealing with religious conservatism.
For something completely different, the line “Dream something and make it real” in 2BU offers a hopeful and aspirational note that suggests if you want to do something you should probably just do it.
Last Night All My Dreams Came True is a pretty good celebration of Wild Beasts career. Even though it may be a bit late, as a greatest hits it is perfect for newcomers and worthwhile for fans of the band. However, as a live album it doesn’t offer the energy or any significant re-imagining of songs and as such doesn’t reach the heights of a truly excellent live album.