What's there not to like about British Sea Power? In a year where, allegedly, good old British Pop (please note I did NOT say Britpop) is back in guitar form, then these Brighton-based philanthropists and sonic engineers are surely already the figureheads, despite being little more than an album old. Such is their rise and rise though, BSP now hold a position to be envied by all but the most immediate-impact orientated. Debut album 'The Decline Of British Sea Power' was one of those records that gently filtered through the conciousness of indie kids until suddenly, they're playing theatres and this, their second album is set to catapault into the top ten...
But so it is, and as hit-parade-in-denial single 'It Ended On An Oily Stage' breaks into its grandiose and skyscraping chorus, it's clear that BSP are looking towards the top of the mountains with 'Open Season'. And while it's famililar musical and lyrical territory, there's a distinct movement towards the other end of line marked 'important yet individual'. And individual they remain; hark at the way that 'Be Gone' shakes and quakes as singer Yan magestically uses the phrase "I love your iridesecent sheen". Who else? Quite?. But on 'Open Season', some of the rough edges of their previous LP have been smoothed and it's a slicker, slightly friendlier musical world that the band exist in now. The full-on guitar abuse of the likes of 'Favours In The Beetroot Fields' from 'Decline...' has not quite disappeared, yet been gently coerced into songs of more stately nature. Indeed, 'Will I Ever Find My Way Home' sounds like a homage to the recently-departed American indie heroes Luna* and is possibly the jauntiest musical piece they've offered - give or take the suitably dark and lost lyrics. But what's more exciting is the likes of '_Like a Honeycomb_' which is an absolutely _giant_ of a tune, as enthralled in its own anthemic status as it deserves to be, as ghosted keyboards and echoed guitars wind their way to the heavens. In fact, with Yan's Bowie*-esque vocal coming to the fore, songs on 'Open Season' take on an epic, 'Heroes' feel (quite a compliment) in scope and adventurousness. Fortunately things never billow out of proportions, and for every driving 'Victorian Ice', there's a lamentative 'Oh Larsen B'. Onwards, upwards and across the landscapes.
The gentle, searching lullaby of 'True Adventures' is a fitting closer, filled as it is with idiosyncracy, depth and general beautiful mayhem. Which is an excellent approximation of the band's newest ouerve_. Whether they're prepared for it or not, 'Open Season' is set to transcend indie cliques and hardcore raving mentalist fanbases and blow BSP wide open. God bless them and the merry ship they sail.
8Michaela Annot's Score