It’s hard to review something that’s primary purpose is to experiment and play around with sounds. Like the previous two mixtapes, some are hits and other are misses but ultimately that is the charm with this and judging Bastille’s previous two mixtapes – one thing is for sure, it keeps it interesting to listen too. It cannot simply be compared to their album because this is not its purpose.
To begin Bastille cleverly allude to later track ‘Weapon’ with a string ensemble and distorted vocals to create a dramatic introduction to their mixtape with ‘Fall Into Your Arms’. Like the other two mixtapes- this introduction is simple, beautiful and an indication of the interesting musical journey that the listener is about to embark on.
On to an instantly appealing bass guitar hook and drum heavy beat ‘Bite Down’ features pop trio Haim. The catchy pop tune is the epitome of a well-made collaboration. The track is the perfect amalgamation of their two signature sounds, with both equally stamping their own sounds on the song, which is a proven hit.
While ‘bad_news’ was introduced to fans as an Oblivion B-side, fans won’t be disappointed with this inclusion on the track list because it too received the mixtape treatment with the inclusion of production extrordinarre MNEK, whose soulful vocals make an outstanding difference to the overall track, elevating it to the next level goodness.
Notably, lead singer Dan Smith’s vocals are outstanding on ‘The Driver’, which was used for the infamous rescore of cult film ‘Drive’. Interestingly, it is the only track on the EP that doesn’t include a credited collaborator, and it’s probably not that surprising as it is the closet sounding track to their trademark sound. Which begs me to question its inclusion on the mixtape, its almost as though it doesn’t belong there.
In true mixtape form, Bastille change things up between each song, ‘Torn Apart’ is a prime example of that. The house/electro inspired sound is the ultimate experimentation of sounds, combine that with a wacky video clip and you have yourself a hit.
To end on a similar note to its intro, it winds down with a remake of ‘Skulls’ off the re-pack of debut album ‘Bad Blood’. The inclusion of the uniquely deep vocals of Rag’N’Bone Man and the raspy vocal tones of Skunk Anansie coupled with Smith’s pitch perfect vocals make this track an exceptional inclusion that adds a multitude of depth in vocals that was somewhat missing off ‘Skulls’. Sonically, ‘Remains’ sticks out like a sore thumb on the mixtape. Perhaps they should have included ‘Skulls’ on the mixtape and ‘Remains’ should have been put on the re-pack instead which seems more suitable. Either way, it is a flawless track.
Sadly, while this mixtape, unlike the first two, are missing the clever inclusion of film samples and interesting takes on covers combined with reworks of their own songs,their collobartive efforts and talented production skills compensate for that.It doesn’t matter whether or not you were a previous fan of Bastille – the sound of the ‘VS.’/ ‘Other People’s Heartache Part 3.‘ mixtape is completely experimental and not in the bands signature style so it worth a listener for anyone who is a fan of good music.
Bastille’s ‘VS.’ is out now
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