With a band name like Wild Beasts, one might be surprised to find that this young group from the UK actually never really rocks out a great deal, and has songs sung entirely in a mixture of falsetto yelps and croons. Throw in titles like "Vigil For A Fuddy Duddy" and "Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants" and you might wonder whether they're taking the piss or not, but the group never breaks stride over ten songs and forty minutes, leaving one to infer that they are indeed serious and actually revel in their contradictions.
That youthful exuberance is something that both charms and frustrates on Limbo Panto, but that's part of the charm of a band still feeling its way out. The aforementioned "Vigil For A Fuddy Duddy" kicks things off, and a wild howl from lead singer Hayden Thorpe goes skying upward over a rickety combination of guitar, drums, bass, and piano that's spacious during the verses before filling into lush swoons during the chorus. At almost five minutes, it runs a bit too long, and fortunately the group bares their teeth a bit more on "The Club Of Fathomless Love," which finds Thorpe again straining his chords while completely cracking in places as chugging instrumentation again melts between choppy bursts and almost carnival-esque punctuation's.
The biggest problem with the release is that although the group does switch up the instrumentation slightly in places, they only really pick up the pace once. "Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants" lopes into a sort of an indie-disco gait and shakes off a bit of the sparkling dust, but Thorpe's ragged howls get to the point where they're distracting more than adding to the mix. "His Grinning Skull" fortunately backs off the over-the-top falsetto vocals and it makes all the difference in the world, stepping into a piano-led torch-song pop feel that's quite lovely. A weird little debut, this one has some promising moments.