Monday, January 10, 2011

British Sea Power

Valhala Dancehall

Rough Trade

This album is like a level. When the music is slightly out of balance, the lyrics right the ship, and when the lyrics are too cryptic, the music provides emotion and meaning. Their trademark echo, murk, and reverb are there, but not as prominently as on their previous albums.

The theme is politics, like on the Heavy Water,” which is maybe about climate change, the soaring “Cleaning Out the Rooms,” which may be about making a new start, perhaps after the revolution, or the somewhat sexual politics songs “Luna” and “Baby.” These last two are mid-tempo songs, and are a little tedious musically, but the lyrics remain interesting and pick up the slack.

The album’s best track, the brilliant “Living is So Easy,” hits the target musically and lyrically. The music is moderately fast, and eschews their usual sound in favor of a squarely mainstream rock framework. The lyrics use shopping and partying as metaphors for society’s greed, irresponsibility, and materialism, an is a very powerful piece of writing indeed. This song could also be misinterpreted as an ode to shopping. But the upside to that is that, like in the tradition of songs like Springstein’s “Born in the USA” which some think is a jingoistic endorsement of the US in the Reagan era, when it actually is a slam against America, The misperception of “Living” could land this band their breakhrough hit in the US.

This is British Sea Power’s most consistent and best album. Let’s hope it’s a hit, and land this band a huge audience. []

Andrea Weiss

Broken Records

Let me Come Home

4 AD

The straightforward indie folk sound of this band’s second album is much better than the mini orchestra of their debut album, Until the Earth Begins to Part. Lead singer Jamie Sutherland reins in his voice, there is a bit of electric guitar, and the music is grand desperation rather than grandiose

desperation. Every track have something to offer.

Lyrically, all of these distraught characters cling to hope any way they can, never losing sight of the horizon. But it’s on the album’s best track, “Home.” a simple folk/rock plea for the narrator’s girlfriend to take him back, that is the most effective in carrying both the theme and emotion. If there are more “Homes” in this band’s future, they have a bright one indeed.


Andrea Weiss

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Archive