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Do You Like Rock Music

  British Sea Power  
  Rough Trade  
Release Date:


Reviewed by:

I have consistently enjoyed the work of British Sea Power over the past few years. However, their second album, Open Season, was somewhat dull. They continued to put on exciting live shows though, and so when their new record came out, I went and picked up a copy.

All I have to say is, WOW! This is a masterpiece, a rollicking album of deep grooves, soaring guitars, and those excellent British Sea Power vocals. This is their best work to date, an album of great song after great song. I am very impressed.

The record starts off with All In It. A kick drum thuds along as the band chants "We're all in it and we, all in it and we, all in it and we close our eyes" for a minute or so as the drums beat a military riff, then the song slows down and quiets out for a moment. And then something remarkable happens: it comes back louder, more forceful, the voices barely restrained from shouting the chant, all accompanied by soaring stings and noisy guitar. Beautiful and powerful.

When I first bought the record and put it on the player, I was so amazed at this song that I grabbed the record sleeve and poured over the credits for a cause. And there it is on the very first line of the credits: "This album was the last to be recorded at the dimly lit but well illuminated Hotel2Tango in Montreal, Canada." And again, further down, "Recorded by Howard Bilerman at Hotel2Tango, Montreal, with help from Efrim Menuck." Of course! All In It is British Sea Power meets Godspeed You Black Emperor. Godspeed You, British Sea Power! Epic English guitar rock meets cinematic Quebecquois post-rock, to marvelous effect. Really, this opening track has left a deep impression in me.

But the album continues to pay off after that stunning opening. Then next track starts with a soaring guitar riff, thundering guitars, and Yan's breathy vocals. Lights Out For Darker Skies is another great rocking tune. Two in a row!

And it gets better. Track three kicks off with a distorted echo that suddenly stops, segueing into a lovely strings interlude, and then it explodes into a flurry of drums and the band screaming "Easy! Easy Easy!" in a crowd stirring chant. Then, BSP's other vocalist, Hamilton, comes in, spitting out his lyrics in an almost bored fashion. How can he be bored with the chanting, the tremendous drumming, and the grinding guitars? This song is called No Lucifer, and on record is a truly great rock song. When I saw them live a few weeks back, this was the song that got the crowd going, filling The EARL with indie rockers chanting "Easy Easy Easy!" as they bounced along frenetically. Brilliant!

Remarkably enough, British Sea Power place a fourth brilliant track next, front-loading the album with great rock songs. This one is called Waving Flags, and has Yan on vocals. This is a typical Yan song, with breathy lyrical contortions over guitars, keys, and strings that ebb and flow. Still, the chorus of "We're just waving flags" begs to be sung along with.

That has to be one of the best four-song album intros I have heard in a long time. Wonderfully done. Which is not to say that the rest of the album is dull. Far from it. British Sea Power continue to rock song after song. There are no sleepers here, but those four are such a strong start that they had to be mentioned.

British Sea Power are back, with what is their best work to date. I highly recommend this record to anyone who, well, answers the titular question in the affirmative. Do you like rock music? If so, then you need this disc.

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Also on EvilSponge:
     Album: The Decline of British Sea Power
     Concert: Tues.10.May.05
     Album: Open Season
     Concert: Mon.21.Apr.08


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