Review Summary: Brighton four-piece release first "big" album of the year, and their 3rd, with huge success.
I’m not going to lie; this is pretty much my first foray into the world of British Sea Power (and that’s what it is, they’re created a whole world for themselves here). They pretty much up until this point completely passed me by. I had heard some songs in the past but never really gave them much time. But after being strongly recommended to try out this album, I can now completely see what I’ve been missing.
In fact, just this album’s huge opening one-two punch of the atmospheric opening of ‘All in it’ to the hugely grandiose rock of ‘Lights Out For Darker Skies’ is enough to show me just how much I’ve been missing. The evidence on how they’ve come to great lengths to perfect this album (recording in Canada, Brighton and Czech Republic over the last year to get it just so), because they are not only brilliantly composed pieces of music, but excellent examples of this record’s use of combining hard and fast indie rock with, at times, vast soundscapes to challenge Sigur Ros or the Arcade Fire.
It seems, what this album is best at, is producing challenging yet melodic rock music that is both approachable and rewarding to listen to, much like Trail of Dead when they were in top form. The shift in emotion with a simple chord change during the last 2 minutes of ‘Lights Out for Darker Skies’ is a great example of this, as they have found a formula here that seamlessly shifts in mood but keeps it’s solid and great song-writing. This carries on into the album’s more straight-up three piece of ‘No Lucifer/Waving Flags/Canvey Island’ which all individually show off a great knack for writing what are essentially straightforward honest indie rock songs, but still manage to keep all the atmosphere and layers promised from the outset. It is then, unsurprising ‘Waving Flags’ was chosen as the lead single, sitting in the middle of this three piece, it is fantastic at showing off just what makes this band exciting which a catchy lead riff (made most popular by Editors recently) and lyrics like ‘You are astronomical/fans of alcohol/so welcome in.’ it very much feels like the Brighton 4-piece are inviting us to their new magical yet powerful movement.
It is music with the power to take you to another world, something we’ve seen post-rock do countless times, but this time there’s a voice guiding us on the way, which leads for a very endearing listen. As the album progresses, we get to see more the band’s more aggressive sides on ‘Down on the Ground’ and ‘A Trip Out’, where as ‘The Great Skua’ and ‘No Need to Cry’ shows a very delicate and sensitive side, and it is this balance, on top of all the wonderful melodies and instruments in this atmospheric, multi-layered brand of indie rock that, should, with any luck, send British Sea Power into the big leagues and as a favourite of the year even in these early stages of 2008.
BSP have laid their foundations and are welcoming you to join, in what should be their 2008, it’s now up to you to join them.