In what many will see as their most coherent, complete and directly commercial album to date, British Sea Power still manage to juggle mathematics, computer theory and anti-Art polemics while channelling the greatest of the 1980s 'raincoat' bands - the Bunnymen, Cure, Au Pairs, Wire - and staying in touch sonically with the likes of Arcade Fire and, even (whisper it who dares) U2.
They're playing angles here, metaphorically as well as literally, setting musical frills at tangents to lyrical thrills, spouting ideas and sprouting conceptual leanings as they circumvent traditional means to discuss Brexit, political lies, social media overload and suburban overlords. Although it's not a happy album - it makes no bones that there's not a lot in the world to be happy about - neither is it an expression of misery at our lousy lot. If anything it's a post-miserablist exhortation to get on with it, make it better and put some vim into whatever happens next.
It's heard to most dramatic effect on Keep On Trying (Sechs Freunde), a burning, yearning, flash-in-the-fan with a rolling bassline and a chorus that reminds us how much fun Franz Ferdinand used to be when they tickled the mind and made party girls dance. Beyond that, Bad Bohemian reclaims stadium rock from the infernal cultural hegemonists by injecting the pomp and circumstance with a modicum of pop glitz; while the closing Alone Piano casts gentle Eno-esque keyboard figures into a Bowie-esque lyrical collage that adds up to the sum total of shiny pan-European future optimism. Or something like that.
Fan-funded and unencumbered by anyone else's agenda, this is the sound of BSP doing what they want, giving the people what they want and freaks what for.
|Lisbee Stainton: Then Up||Alasdair Roberts: Pangs|
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