I swear to Yeezus, we’re getting real close to new music from Bastille. In the last couple of weeks, Dan Smith has been slowly getting back into the press circuit (joining Craig David on BBC Radio 1 and jokingly assured that new music was on its way in “the next five years”) and the band have officially kicked off their summer festival run. Not to mention this tweet:
— BASTILLE (@bastilledan) May 20, 2016
Every Bastille fan knows that their visuals are just as important as their sound so while we’re not so patiently waiting for the arrival of LP2, here are a few cool things to get you pumped for the new era. Because honestly, it’s more than just tossing in a couple of episodes of Twin Peaks.
Easily the best new show from the past year, Mr. Robot is a massive triumph in storytelling and continuing the Golden Age of television that we’re currently in. Reminiscent of Fight Club and the good days of Dexter, Mr. Robot weaves together interesting and dark plot lines along with a good sense of self-awareness. The audience acts as Elliot’s imaginary friend that he tells everything he can’t communicate and in a weird way, that’s how Bastille’s music feels. It’s that internal monologue you don’t dare say aloud but must express in some format.
One of Hitchcock’s later films, Vertigo is filled with striking imagery that focuses on James Stewart’s fears and anxieties. As he goes searching for this mystery woman, he starts spiraling mentally. With their newest release (of yet), “Hangin’,” it’s clear that Bastille has graduated from the black and white and skulls from Psycho to the dizzying visual representation shown in Vertigo.
It seems that over the last 5 years, Drive has influenced every new artist (as well as this site, ahem). In their last EP, Bastille had a song entitled “The Driver” that was written for BBC Radio 1’s rescore of the film. There’s a multitude of reasons why Drive continues to inspire everyone. It has one of the best cinematography work of the last decade that truly highlights the intensity of violence and love with Los Angeles as its backdrop. Not to mention the most perfect soundtrack in recent memory. With its neon pink aesthetic and 80s throwback vibe, Drive is the pinnacle of what can be done when visuals and music perfectly align.
At the beginning of their Last Stand Tour, a 1970s graphic of “Feature Presentation” opened up before the first couple chords of “Things We Lost In The Fire.” The same thing can be seen in their video for “bad_news” and it’s no secret that aside from David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino is an inspiration for the look of Bastille. Grindhouse is a double feature that pays homage to B-list Grindhouse movies from the 70s from directors Robert Rodriguez and Tarantino. Rodriguez’s offering is a zombie-like movie starring Rose McGowan with a machine gun for a leg (fuck yes). Tarantino’s is a badass, all female action movie that is filled with violence and cars.
Bastille has always been ~geometric~ in their branding and it seems they’re moving on from triangles to hexagons with their forthcoming album. In Stanley Kurbrick’s The Shining, the use of shapes is visually striking but also amplifies the redundancy of the family’s life (“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”) as well as the intricacy of their problems that are enhanced by their time at the hotel. Bastille has a history of using chain vocals and chants in their music, so it makes sense that their visuals parallel that repetitiveness.
I mean there had to be at least one David Lynch film on this list. 1986’s Blue Velvet is probably Lynch’s most accessible film. It has a linear storyline, no weird dream sequences, and you know…an ending. There are two very important song motifs that trigger throughout the movie. Bobby Vinton’s song “Blue Velvet,” where the film’s title comes from, ties the everything together both aurally (it’s Isabella Rossellini’s character’s signature song) and visually (Isabella Rossellini physically wears blue velvet every time she’s forced to something she doesn’t want to do). The other is the brief but extremely effective use of Roy Orbinson’s “In Dreams.” The use of both songs in the film touch upon how powerful certain musical cues can drive a storyline. Also, the way Lynch uses cars and highways in his framing to escalate tension on screen is something to note. Blue Velvet is further proof at how far Lynch’s influence reaches in the realm of Bastille. Plus, Kyle MacLachlan’s snazzy earring — what more do you need?