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  The Decline of British Sea Power  
  British Sea Power  
  Rough Trade  
Release Date:
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I spend a lot of time online chatting about music. Not that i am obsessed or anything -- i can quit whenever i want. Really. British Sea Power have been getting great word of mouth publicity online, and when i saw their album i decided to grab a copy. I am very glad i did, for BSP have made one of the best rock albums i have heard in a long time. This is unhyphenated rock, not punk-, nor post-, nor pop-, just rock. Guitars, drums, bass, voice, the occasional organ, a lot of attitude, and not a real care in the world. Excellent stuff. The whole album is good, but the beginning of it is an act of brilliance that still impresses me, even after many listens.

The whole thing starts off with Men Together Today, which features the various band members harmonizing, like some sort of relaxing yet epic choir music. Lovely, and short. It fades out before the minute is through, and a powerful bass line slinks in. Then a voice says, in a quirky sort of way, "Oh Theodore you are the most attractive man." The guitars hit, the drums come in, and the whole think gets gloriously messy in 4/4 time. This second tune, called Apologies to Insect Life positively rules.

The next track ain't too shabby either. It's called Favours in the Beetroot Fields and it sounds like an ancient Pere Ubu relic. The over-trebly guitars that P.U. gave to punk are there, but the riffing is still straight up blues rock, just like in early P.U.. The voice is a spastic murmur, blurting words out at a furious place and spewing them with no regard for where they end up. Quite an excellent little number.

The next two tunes are decent, but track 6 again bowls me over. It's called Fear of Drowning, and it starts with a gentle wash of water on the beach, then the band comes in with a quaint little riff that mosey's along until the singer exclaims "Jesus Fucking Christ oh God no!", and they fall into the tune, rocking out. I really like this one. One of my favorite tunes of the year. It just builds and builds until you think the singer, identified in the liner notes only as "Yan," is going to explode as he repeats the song title again and again.

Later in the album, Lately is a noteworthy track in that this one song seems to bear a strong influential mark, unlike the rest of their work which simply revels in "rockness", this one song bears a certain Sonic Youthness to it, and that's a good thing really. It starts normally, but then inexplicably there is an extended improvisational Sonic Youth guitar freakout in the middle. It's well done and cetainly shows that they band not only knows what they are doing, but that they really enjoy doing it as well.

And finally, BSP wrap up their debut album with Heavenly Waters, which is different from it's siblings in that this is a lovely, piano-driven pop tune. Damned catchy, in a mellow sort of way. A nice ending to the guitar chaos that was the album.

Overall, despite a few "less good" tunes here and there, this is a stunning debut. If you like the rawk, then this is a must have. Heck, Apologies to Insect Life, Favours in the Beetroor Fields, and Fear of Drowning alone are worth the price of admission.

I look forward to more from this young and talented act.

Related Links:

none available yet, but look for British Sea Power to make their Atlanta debut at the Echo Lounge on St. Paddy's Day (17.March) 2004.


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