The word, Diviner has double meaning, firstly it is a person who practices divination and secondly, it is the person that divines the location of water or minerals. Further to that, it is the title to the new album from Wild Beasts’ Hayden Thorpe, and a fine collection of songs solo, first time, from the frontman.
Diviner was recorded over the course of last year with close friend and long-time collaborator, Leo Abrahams, who is known for having worked with Jon Hopkins, Brian Eno and David Byrne to name a few. This was mostly done between Hayden’s London abode and Leo’s studio in Cornwall, but also during periods of travel. And with Wild Beasts coming to an end, it has opened up the opportunity for Hayden to continue still making music, with those vocals that will not only make you think for a mere moment that they have re-formed, but also pour warmth into your ears.
Emotive and lyrical, Diviner is melodic and at times pacey. The title track and opener, Diviner is a stripped down track, with lyrics such as, “I’m a keeper of secrets, pray do tell, I’ll be your disciple, show yourself” and heavily resonating piano. Straight Lines is harmonious and includes drum accompaniment along with the piano, but still predominantly stripped down from the large sounds of Wild Beasts. Earthly Needs is possibly one that aligns it’s style to that of the previous band, wholesome yet with more synth-based sounds. Pulsating, throbbing, there is a fascinatingly dramatic component to this track that opens the door for a little head nodding, a toe tap or two.
Love Crimes is, however, the standout track for me on this album, with lyrics such as “I’m not giving up on fear, I’m just giving up on us” and percussion that makes it near impossible to stand static listening to this track. Intimate and palpitating, it’s a stunning track on this ten-track LP. In My Name is once again stripped down to Hayden’s vocals and piano work, delicately personal and deeply resonating.
Anywhen begins with complex piano, and the lyrics, “strangers again, strangers again, I never learned the lines, it was all improvised”, establishing the complexities of the relationship hinted at with this track. Hinting at the fragility of humans, Hayden’s music is elegant and at times richly opulent. Impossible Object, is raw, bare, yet pulsating, concluding the album with a prime example of the richness we see throughout Diviner. With albums like this, I am not so much concerned anymore about Wild Beasts reformation, Hayden’s talent has been transferred to this new solo work but brought to a more intimate level.
Diviner is out now, via Domino Records.