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Wild Beasts: A 'Beautiful Truth' In A Beautiful Bar

The members of Wild Beasts perform for a Field Recordings video shoot at The Campbell Apartment in New York City's Grand Central Station. (NPR)

You can be 10 feet from The Campbell Apartment, a bar tucked into the corner of New York's Grand Central Station, and not have any idea it's there. The office of a member of the New York Central Railroad's Board Of Directors in the 1920s (and later a storage closet and a jail), the room is intimate in spite of its 25-foot ceilings and the enormous leaded-glass window that faces Vanderbilt Avenue.

For the decade it's been making music, the English band Wild Beasts has been touched by a similar antiqueness. It's not retro; more like a feeling that some element of the band's sound — from the street-urchin-inspired lyrics of its early songs to the new-wave synths woven through its latest album, Present Tense — arrived fully intact via time machine.

Over four albums, Wild Beasts songs have remained focused on love, sex and the power struggle often created when the two are paired. By this measure, the relationship in "A Simple Beautiful Truth" is serene and straightforward. "Woman, we don't need to pretend anymore," Hayden Thorpe sings. "Simple, beautiful love is worth countless triumphs when it's real." Amid the rush and confusion of the outside world, that's a truth that lasts.

SET LIST

  • "A Simple Beautiful Truth"

CREDITS

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Jacob Ganz; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Colin Marshall, A.J. Wilhelm, Jacob Ganz; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Special Thanks: The Campbell Apartment, Mark and Rachel Dibner of the Argus Fund; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann

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