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
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.