Friday, April 01, 2005

open season

There's a new British Sea Power album out, in case you didn't notice, and I've been listening to it all week; I think it's pretty good. Like 'The Decline and Fall...' it's a grower, I think. It starts very well indeed - 'It Ended On an Oily Stage', which includes the lines "He found God / In a parking lot / And you did not" and "Be Gone" are excellent examples of BSP at their best. The latter's chorus goes "Oh Gloria! Oh Guillotine! I love your irridescent sheen", which reminds me of Pavement's "One of us is a cigar stand / and one of us is a lovely blue incandescent guillotine", which was pretty much lonely in a league of it's own 'til now. As an opening salvo, the two songs lack the raw, alarming power of the opening songs on the first album, which dazzled me when I first heard them.

Here, after two great pop songs, the album dips alarmingly for a few songs after that, but gathers pace again with 'Victorian Ice', which - quite apart from a moment where the song stops still for Yan to sing 'totally wicked, and equally ace' - features a couple of magnificent and delicate guitar flourishes and suddenly turns into Simon and Garfunkel's 'Mrs Robinson' for five seconds on a couple of occasions.

Even better, 'Oh Larson B', their paean to the melting Antarctic coastal shelf, is just wonderful - BSP's best tune since 'Remember Me' - the first half built around a really great Motown bassline and crisp, confident guitar and the second even going a bit Sonic Youth. It's one of only one or two tracks on the album which are really excellent songs; elsewhere their engaging style and lyrical elan gets them out of scrapes where songs are only really half-songs. And there's nothing as irrestistable as 'Apologies to Insect Life'.

But it's a decent, no, a good second album. Well produced, spirited, confident and articulate.

Sorry, that was a very rushed album review. And after all that, a link.

There's an interview with the band in the Independent today. Read it.


Ben said...

Not sure whether I've ever heard them on record, but I've seen them live twice. Something tells me I should like them, but for some reason they just didn't impress much musically - the gimmickiness of the live show (quite entertaining in itself) seemed designed to conceal the fact that the songs themselves weren't actually anything special. But if, as you say, their albums are growers, it would be worth my while checking them out.

Iva said...

Hey, I saw your post about a movie about Ian Curtis from Joy Division. When did you wrote it and when it should be done?