Present Tense - Wild Beasts

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Feb 21, 2014
    Their most complete record by a serious stretch, it's a work that laughs, cries, detests, adores and above anything else inspires.
  2. 100
    They’ve pulled off possibly the most intelligent, involving and profound record since OK Computer.
  3. Feb 19, 2014
    On their past albums Wild Beasts have shown us their savage and raw sides, which have been gloriously charming and exciting, but by opening up on Present Tense and revealing their true hearts, their music has ascended to new heights.
  4. Mar 7, 2014
    The way Wild Beasts can’t seem to play a bum note or place a single syllable in the wrong verse, makes Present Tense one of the most quietly exhilarating albums in recent memory, and all the more so for using its evocative power to unsettle and seduce in equal measure.
  5. Mar 3, 2014
    Present Tense possesses a complexity that's not so calculated, focusing on the passage of music rather than layer upon layer of sound. Its 11 synth-drenched tracks are more bare than those on Smother, but they move much more fluidly, their liquiform seduction establishing a contrast with the band's ominous lyrics.
  6. 90
    The result is an LP that feels more in sync with contemporary music than ever before. There are notes here of Oneohtrix Point Never, Clams Casino, and Tim Hecker. Crucially, though, Present Tense roams a landscape which couldn’t have been charted by anyone else.
  7. Feb 18, 2014
    It is an album by a band at the very peak of their powers--one that will make you want to throw your hands up and surrender to its magnificent beauty.
  8. Feb 12, 2014
    For the fourth album in a row, they've moved the goalposts, challenging themselves to apply their whooping idiosyncrasies to a new aesthetic framework. [Mar 2014, p.70]
  9. Feb 12, 2014
    Occasionally the bare-bones arrangements, a virtue in the main, serve to expose minor shortcomings in the songs. But overall, it’s a quibble far outweighed by the thrill afforded by a record that’s as honest and open-hearted as anything this great band have put their names to yet.
  10. 83
    Present Tense may be a less accessible offering from Wild Beasts, but it’s their most human--a mesmeric bundle of contradictions, indignities and pleasures.
  11. Feb 26, 2014
    Lucky for us, there’s no one else like them and on Present Tense, their success has allowed Wild Beasts to be even more like themselves.
  12. Mar 31, 2014
    Perhaps their most impressive, consistent and varied offering to date.
  13. Feb 27, 2014
    The album’s electronic feel sharpens the idea of sterility and a frictionless modern life, while providing, as British electronica has done since the days of John Foxx, a lexicon for existential nothingness.
  14. Feb 24, 2014
    Present Tense isn't as flawless as Smother; it's slightly top-loaded, and occasionally the spare instrumentation borders on monotonous. Still, it's a compelling album that shows Wild Beasts can build on their breakthrough in satisfying and challenging ways.
  15. Feb 24, 2014
    Dig deep and there's powerful drama and enigmatic subtlety in equal measure as the Cumbrian four-piece once again embrace understated electronica and invite favourable comparisons with Talk Talk.
  16. Feb 21, 2014
    This is a far more reflective affair, with the lyrical gymnasium packed away
  17. Feb 21, 2014
    He's probably too modest to just come out and say that Present Tense is where beauty lies, but he should; this fourth Wild Beasts album is a stunner.
  18. Feb 20, 2014
    Present Tense shows that their confidence has grown to match their ambition, and it is plainly their best album yet.
  19. Feb 18, 2014
    Present Tense might lack the immediacy of both Smother and Two Dancers, but scratch away at the surface and its a record oozing with the precision and maturity we've come to expect from its creators. And in all honesty, it would be churlish to ask for anything more.
  20. Feb 14, 2014
    The work of a richly creative entity still in the ascendant, those with a mind to will drink deep. [Mar 2014, p.116]
  21. Feb 12, 2014
    This intimate, intelligent album boasts that rarest quality in 21st century rock music: inimitability. [Mar 2014, p.89]
  22. Feb 12, 2014
    As always, Wild Beasts' songs are unusually intimate, and the electronic evolution of Present Tense captures their characteristically microscopic explorations of human interaction.
  23. Feb 25, 2014
    Not everything on Present Tense is a success, but the highs are truly high, even when they’re sad.
  24. Feb 25, 2014
    Present Tense marks a further refinement and features a band continuing to keep itself restless and uncomfortable.
  25. 67
    By most accounts, Present Tense fends off stagnation, but without some new tricks up their sleeve, one wonders how long they can avoid that fate.
  26. Feb 21, 2014
    While Wild Beasts have crafted another beautifully soulful record in Present Tense--with perhaps a little more bite than its predecessor--it does leave the listener wondering how long a band can stick with one mood before it starts to stagnate. [Feb/Mar 2014, p.78]
  27. 60
    “Wanderlust” establishes the overall thematic impulse to live culturally beyond one’s means, but in practice this can lead to the preference for smarts over suitability that spoils a track like “A Dog’s Life”. But there are moments of greatness here and there.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 54 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Feb 25, 2014
    This is almost perfect! I thought it was impossible to make something better than "Smother" (Their previous one) but I) was wrong. This album means a very possitive evolution.

    Will they make anything better for the 5th album? Now the top is high so it's difficult to say!
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 24, 2014
    I know it might be a little premature, but this may be one of the best albums of the year down the line. Although the band changes their style up pretty drastically, with a lot of electronic elements, they still remain the same at the core. Every track is pretty solid for the most part. Only real let down is Nature Boy for me. Overall, the record is a bit more minimal than the previous LP, while guitar and synth melodies seem to be most prominent here. Lots of reverb as well, on the drums and guitar mainly, which gives it a real 80's sound. Pretty haunting vocal melodies as well. Full Review »
  3. Apr 16, 2014
    No matter what your taste may be, you simply can't dislike this album. Wild Beasts have craftily manipulated sound, time, and rhythm to create the musical equivalent of a Picasso. Present Tense retains the band's signature pensive, occasionally brooding atmosphere, but distinguishes itself from predecessor Smother by overtly emphasizing the emotional drama the record's operatic vocals and longing chords consistently generate. Wild Beasts profess their creative and musical maturity not only through the album's superlative rhythms and lyrics and heightened sense of spatial and self awareness, but also by successfully replicating the organic textures and impressions that made their previous albums such a revelation to listen to. Such inclusions as the trembling and wobbly synthetic instrumentals in "Wanderlust," the dynamic yet humble drumbeats in "A Dog's Life," and the inspiringly emotive vocals in "Sweet Spot," make Present Tense arguably the band's most accessibly organic and expressive album yet.

    FINAL SCORE: 92.5 (almost perfect -----o--------------- perfect)
    Full Review »