Wild Beasts to haunt Istanbul for the second time at Babylon

At a time when many rock bands go by formulas, the way Wild Beasts try to expand the horizons of modern music becomes all the more important.

The English band will be playing at Babylon, where they will give their second Istanbul performance Nov. 29, allowing Turkish rock fans a chance to test the band’s worth.

The band played at the One Love Festival two years ago and it was a day to remember for the band as well, just like it was for the fans.

“It was incredible,” drummer Chris Talbot said, recalling the first performance, in an interview with the Turkish Daily News. “When we get asked about our favorite gigs we have played, we always name that first show in Istanbul,” he said. “Playing a gig in a country you’ve never been to before is both daunting and exciting. But we were completely blown away by the reaction and the size of the crowd at that first show, we weren’t expecting anything,” he added.

It was an open-air performance with the band part of a large festival bill and Tuesday’s performance will give the band to play for a more devout audience at a more intimate atmosphere.

Talbot said he does not feel a different venue leads to a change in band’s performance.

“Personally I don’t mind,” he said. “At the risk of sounding cliche, it’s not really about where you play it’s who you play to. ‘Smother’ is certainly more an intimate listen but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be enjoyed in a smaller venue. But at the same time it’s fun to be able to see the whites of people’s eyes and have an audience right on top of you. Luckily for us we get to experience a bit of both on our travels.”

Calling “Smother” an intimate listen is not an overstatement, since the record, released earlier this year, has been one of the best reviewed albums of 2011. Admittedly influenced from a variety of names, from the art rock of Kate Bush to the Brooklyn-based experimental outfit Oneohtrix Point Never, the ambient sounds of Talk Talk or the dreamy pop melodies of The Blue Nile, Wild Beasts come to point where they make those different sounds so natural. The band’s melodies are not your average catchy indie rock numbers, but reward the listener only after a couple of listens.

Rejecting formulas

“We do appreciate the art of writing a good pop song, but it must be remembered that ‘hits’ these days are generally formulaic compositions and our approach is anything but formulaic,” Talbot said. “We’re not avoiding ‘hits’, we just don’t think it’s a healthy approach to being creative if the sole purpose of your endeavor is to make something commercially successful,” he said.

“We do want to create music that challenges listeners – ‘Smother’ is quite a dense record, it rewards patience with hidden textures and instrumentation that only rears itself after repeated listens,” he added.

With their intricate body of instrumentation and songs without hooks, Wild Beasts’ music is definitely not easy to digest. However, the Briton quartet is likely to deliver a haunting performance for the music fans, who don’t like their indie rock watered down.