British Sea Power CD Review

Jon Dieringer

British Sea Power is five young men — “scholars and musicians,” as their press release describes them — from

Brighton, England, who play music with the power to make even the benighted listener nostalgic for the Wiltshire

fields and eastern seaboards of yore.

The romantic post-punk of Echo and the Bunnymen and The Psychedelic Furs make good touchstones for their

sound, but Sea Power isn’t sailing on a retro trip. If listening to Open Season on an iPod feels like a bit of an

anachronism, it’s for the lyrics’ rich allusions and choruses’ majestic sweeps.

The band all but ditches the gloom that pervaded a good deal of their debut, The Decline of British Sea Power, and

that album’s jittery sonic freakouts that misleadingly kicked off the album are thankfully gone. 

Singer Yan is blessed with a very strong voice with a dreamy rasp that recalls Bowie’s most nuanced croons, one

that is suited to both the jubilantly explosive “Please Stand Up” and it’s following track, the dreamily sprase,

mostly-acoustic “North Hanging Rock.”

Elsewhere, the Pixies buzz of the lead guitar on “Leaving Here” cuts through the melody like an 1871 Elcho

bayonet, and “Oh, Larsen B” is a rather warm tribute to a rather large iceberg.

While bands like Radiohead and Grandaddy continue to do an excellent job of turning a bitter eye on the

technology that has so rapidly changed our way of life, it is a breath of fresh air to hear a band tackle the same

themes by embracing what remains of the natural world.

As call to appreciate unnoticed truth and beauty, Open Season is the near-flawless pop album U2 would’ve made if

their current idea of culture was broader than “uno, dos, trace, catorce.” Count on British Sea Power instead.

Contact Pop Arts reporter Jon Dieringer at [email protected].