One can guess fairly easily if one wanted to know what "Limbo, Panto," Wild Beasts' excellent debut album, will sound like. Much like their band name, the music presented here sounds, well, wild, animalistic, primitive, and somewhat tribal. Wild Beasts have two lead singers, Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming. Thorpe, whose vocals range from angelic and graceful to raw, rigid, and at times, incoherent and erratic tends to over power the much needed balance and consistency of Fleming, whose vocals are the complete opposite of Thorpe; deep, soft, soothing, and yes, very sexy. Though the mixture is startlingly unique, if at times a tad bit too eccentric. Still, "Limbo, Panto" is a brave introduction to and interesting band that never fails to engage and challenge it's listener.
What is "Limbo, Panto?" The dictionary defines 'limbo' as a place or state of restraint or confinement and 'panto' (derived from pantomine) as any or various dramatic dancing preformance in which a story is told by expressive bodily or facial movements of the performers. The result is ten tracks of sexual angst, agression, and repression. Most of the songs here defy convention and fail to stay in a place of confinement as suggested by the album title. Instead, the songs break through the restraints destined by their artists. Baroque and operatic are words I would describe the bulk of tracks here, except for Fleming's breakout, 'The Devils Crayon,' which is possibly one of the main highlights on "Limbo, Panto." However, the big star here is sex. "Limbo, Panto" oozes sexuality. On the opening track, 'Vigil For A Fuddy Duddy,' Thorpe wails, "Hug it to me, and the rubber raspberries, with wantingly wet mouth I suck . . . remind me of your gentle f**k." On 'Woebegone Wanderers,' Thorpe swears by his own cock and balls. So whether it's "casual sex with a hard up thug" as it is in "The Old Dog" or "huffing and puffing on the mattress stuffing" in 'She purr-purr-purr-purred-while-I-grrr-grrr-grrr-grrr-grrr-grred,' one thing is for sure, Wild Beasts have come from their mother's womb to swoon ('Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants'), and I, for one, am smittened.