REVIEW: Bastille's Goosebumps EP transcends genre, as Bastille are wont to do
Bastille fans were treated with an early Christmas gift as the London-based quartet released the EP Goosebumps on the 4th of December 2020. The band had planned on taking a break after their scheduled ReOrchestrated gigs early 2020 but released the guitar-laden single "WHAT YOU GONNA DO?!," which features Smith on the guitar and Graham Coxon of Blur adding his musical prowess to the summer track. Fans alike were excited and appreciative that this timely release was a nice distraction from the doom and gloom of the outside world. But as the world would soon find out, Bastille would be the force that might just save 2020 from a dismal end.
Goosebumps EP features the three singles released throughout the second half of 2020 and two stripped down versions of the singles recorded at One Eyed Jack Studios. This EP is short but sweet, and reminds you to be ever-optimistic, even in a world of doubt. The title track, "Goosebumps," kicks off the EP with Smith singing the chorus accompanied by a throwback R&B beat. One of my favorite things about this song is that they accentuate certain words to emphasis the longing of companionship. “It’s drivin’ me wiiiiiilld, to know that I can’t have you” is such a fun line to sing. The distortion in the second verse is reminiscent of a duet as if the two halves are singing to the other wishing they were both whole again. All in all, this is a great song that reminds us that Bastille are a versatile band and can cross genres of music with ease and grace.
The next track, "Survivin’," pays homage to the last few years as the band and company have toured the world and creating amazing memories. “Did I blow my mind on the wild side. Singing hallelujah to ‘em every night with you” is a wonderful reminder of the many things that this band have gifted the world. But it is also an anthem, a positive affirmation, that one should be hopeful that things will get better. We are not all alone in the world and that many others are experiencing the same things we are. "And I’m gonna be fine, I think I’ll be fine."
Finally, wrapping up the EP is the track that surprised us all – we see Smith wielding a guitar and proudly exclaiming “WHAT YOU GONNA DO?!” as a reminder to pause and think about what we are really doing when we are doom-scrolling through our timelines. Blur’s Graham Coxon joins the band on this track as things were laid out virtually and as organically as one would hope. It is a nice end to the trilogy of songs released in 2020 and, maybe it’s just me, but it’s a nice callback to the trilogy of full-length albums released prior to this past year.
The bonus tracks of Survivin’ and Goosebumps from One Eyed Jacks Studio is a nice touch to the London quartet’s release. I know I am not in the minority of music fans when I say that I would gladly love to hear an entire album of One Eyed Jacks Sessions of some of the bands favorite songs to play. The two songs are so different in the way they are recorded but is quite similar in style. They both give Smith’s vocals the spotlight it so righteously deserves yet also allows them to interpret these upbeat songs in a new way. Which is always a welcome surprise to any fan of the band.
What makes this EP so unique and fresh is the visuals that Reza Dolatabadi added to the already stellar pieces and tosses the band in these abstract and animated worlds. Which is unlike anything we have seen this year and it makes you wonder what these guys have in store for the new year. We will just have to sit and hope that we will hear more of their new material soon.