Two Brit Bands To Watch For: Editors And Wild Beasts
Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf -- or synthesizers? Two UK bands playing this week in San Francisco -- Editors (Monday, Feb. 8, at the Warfield) and Wild Beasts (Thursday, Feb. 11, at the Independent) -- find swathes of fresh intrigue in those patches and plug-ins, all while baring their breasts and revealing busily percolating emotional lives.
The fine art of paring away for maximum drama appears to be a guiding principle of Birmingham, England, combo Editors. Few likely anticipated their recently released third album, In This Light and on This Evening (Fader), a widely acclaimed recording that manages to be both epic and arch, musically stripped and fulsomely emotional. These days Editors seem to cribbing moves and taking notes on the Manchester masters of stark, angst-ridden post-punk Joy Division and such descendants as Interpol. Still, tracks like “Eat Raw Meat - Blood Drool,” with its over-the-top, decadence-drenched title and sentiments, also evoke the less-canonical Nine Inch Nails, showing an ensemble that’s thinking for itself rather than relying on received wisdom. It sounds as if Editors are becoming more interesting with the passage of time.
Listen to the Leeds-based Wild Beasts -- and hear Antony and the Johnsons and spinoff disco project Hercules and Love Affair taken to more dulcet, beat-driven lengths, complete with beautifully evocative, narrative-laced lyrics. Falsetto vocalist and guitarist Hayden Thorpe has a way with brain-teasing phrase and an impressively vivid image. “The spirit kicks, / But the moonshine plays cheap tricks. / Us kids are cold and cagey rattling around the town / scaring the oldies into their dressing gowns, / as the dribbling dogs howl,” he warbles on “We Still Got the Taste Dancin’ on Our Tongues” off the recent Two Dancers (Domino), before ascending on a flight of “ah”s, lifted by Edge-like guitar textures. From the two-part title track to downright poppy numbers like “Hooting & Howling,” Two Dancers shows Wild Beasts as eager to ruminate as they are to get out on the dance floor.
Editors perform Monday, Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m., at the Warfield, 982 Market St., SF. $23-$25. Antlers and the Dig open. www.goldenvoice.com. Wild Beasts play Thursday, Feb. 11, 8 p.m., at the Independent, 628 Divisadero St., SF. $12-$14. Still Life Still and Magic Bullets open. (415) 771-1422, www.theindependentsf.com