Since the success of their single “Pompeii” in 2013, Bastille, a British indie band that formed in 2010, has only grown more popular. Their first album, Bad Blood—released in 2013—included the highly popular “Pompeii,” along with “Bad Blood” and “Laughter Lines,” both of which have received ample airtime as Bastille’s popularity has grown in both Britain and the United States. Throughout their second album, an extended version of the first album aptly titled All This Bad Blood (released in 2014), Bastille offers listeners the culmination of their most admirable attributes in both music and lyrics via “The Draw.”
One of the most interesting things about Bastille, aside from their indie, synth-pop musical fingerprint, has always been the intensity of their lyrics, as they bravely explore topics that could easily be considered too dark for the synth-pop/rock sound they achieve so effortlessly. “Pompeii,” for example, packs a punch with the bridge—“We were caught up and lost in all our vices / In your pose as the dust settles around us”—and we are easily swept up in the beautifully described destruction of Pompeii. “Bad Blood” also accesses the same darkness with the lines “All this bad blood here, won’t you let it dry? / It’s been cold for years, won’t you let it lie?” With expertly woven lyrics, Bastille thereby establishes themselves as artists able to manipulate the darkest of images into the best combinations of story and sound.
“The Draw,” one of the last tracks on the extended album, offers a story even more compelling. The lyrics of “The Draw” take the desperation of “Pompeii’s” storyline, along with the relational aspect of many of their other tracks, and combine the struggle and emotion into one comprehensive sound. The lyrics, beginning with the first verse, describe an existential exploration—“In my left hand, there is the familiar / In my right hand, there’s the great unknown”—drawing on the significant and powerful trope of the path diverged. The electricity of the vocals only draws us in further with the chorus, which rings in our ears and our minds—“I can feel the draw / I can feel it pulling me back / It’s pulling me back / It’s pulling me.” Ironically, despite the simplicity of the lyrics, we are drawn back into the song with each repetition, the rise and fall of the chorus as easy as breathing.