British Sea Power

(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

The Decline Of (2003) , 6.5/10
Open Season (2005), 6/10
Do You Like Rock Music (2008), 5.5/10
Man Of Aran (2009), 5/10
Give Blood (2005), 6/10
The Beatific Visions (2006), 5.5/10
Touchdown (2009), 5/10
Valhalla Dancehall (2011), 5/10

Progressive combo British Sea Power, hailing from England (Yan on vocals and guitar, his brother Hamilton on bass, Noble on guitar, Wood on drums, Eamon on percussion/keyboards), summarized quite a bit of British rock and pop music on The Decline Of (Rough Trade, 2003). The range of moods was quite wide. At one end of the spectrum the band launched into feverish, punkish, hysterical rigmaroles (Apologies to Insect Life, Favours in the Beetroot Fields, Remember Me). At the other end of the spectrum, they indulged in catchy melodies reminiscent of dark-punk of the late 1970s (Something Wicked, Fear of Drowning), if not of earlier Bowie-esque pop (The Lonely, Carrion). Alas, there were also embarrassing Brit-pop tunes and quite a bit of filler. On the other hand, the slow-burning 14-minute Lately seemed to belong to another album, as it blended Grateful Dead's acid-jams, the Byrds' cosmic folk-rock and early Genesis' progressive suites. And the closing, six-minute instrumental Heavenly Waters was even more psychedelic.

BSS went decisively pop on Open Season (Rough Trade, 2005), that maintains little of the first album's energy and boldness, preferring instead to smooth out the edges and focus on the melodies. While retaining the band's trademark sound, North Hanging Rock and It Ended On An Oily Stage are products ready for mass consumption. This is the kind of album that great bands do after ten years, when they have have inexorably aged and exhausted their creative stage.

The band continued its flirt with mainstream rock on Do You Like Rock Music (Rough Trade, 2008), bordering on pomp with the virulent rock'n'roll rhythm and soothing vocals of Lights Out for Darker Skies and Down On The Ground. Atom boasts punkish energy to justify that pomp. At the other end of the spectrum, the band borders on wimpiness with the soft ballad No Need to Cry. The David Bowie-esque Waving Flags and the simple rigmarole of Open The Door are the songs that reap the benefits of a stronger sense of melody. The painstaking arrangements try to do the rest. The band does not follow up on the most intriguing intuitios: the choral hymn All In It that opens the album, the tribal and droning No Lucifer, the ghostly noise concerto We Close Our Eyes that closes the album. It would probably be beyond their ability.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Giulio Nils Caroletti)

La formazione progressive degli inglesi British Sea Power (Yan, voce e chitarra, suo fratello Hamilton al basso, Noble alla chitarra, Wood alla batteria, Eamon percussioni e tastiere), riassunse un non piccolo quantitativo di rock e pop britannico iná The Decline Of (Rough Trade, 2003).

Lo spettro emozionale era abbastanza vasto: a un capo, la band si lancia in febbrili, isteriche cavalcate punkeggianti (Apologies to Insect Life, Favours in the Beetroot Fields, Remember Me); all'altro capo di esso, indulgono in melodie accattivanti che ricordano il dark-punk della fine dei '70 (Something Wicked, Fear of Drowning), se non di un ancor precedente pop alla Bowie (The Lonely Carrion). Purtroppo, c'erano anche degli imbarazzanti pezzi Brit-pop e un certo numero di riempitivi. D'altro canto, i 14 minuti a fuoco lento di Lately sembrano appartenere a tutt'altro disco, dato che mescola le acid jam dei Grateful Dead, il folk-rock cosmico dei Byrds e le prime suite progressive dei Genesis. E i sei minuti dello strumentale di chiusura Heavenly Waters sono ancora pi¨ psichedelici.


I BSS virarono decisamente al pop su Open Season (Rough Trade, 2005), che conserva poco dell'energia e del coraggio del primo disco, preferendo invece smussare gli angoli e focalizzarsi sulle melodie. Pur preservandoá le sonoritÓ caratteristiche della band, North Hanging Rock e It ended on an oily stage sono prodotti pronti per il consumo di massa. Questo Ŕ il tipo di album che le grandi band incidono dopo dieci anni, quando sono inesorabilmente invecchiate ed hanno perso il loro momento creativo.


La band continu˛ il suo flirt con la musica di consumo su Do you like Rock Music (rough Trade, 2008), sconfinando quasi nella pompa con il virulento ritmo rock'n'roll e le dolci melodie vocali di Lights Out for Darker Skies e Down on the Ground. Atom ostenta una energia punk per giustificare quella pompa. All'altro capo dello spettro, la band rasenta il patetico con la dolce ballata No Need to Cry. Il pezzo alla Bowie Waving Flags e la semplice litania di Open The Door sono canzoni che raccolgono i benefici di un pi¨ forte senso melodico. Gli arrangiamenti meticolosi provano a fare il resto.

La band non da un seguito alle sue pi¨ intriganti intuizioni: l'inno corale All In It che apre l'album, la tribale No Lucifer, densa di droni, e lo spettrale concerto di rumori We Close Our Eyes che lo chiude. Probabilmente il tentativo sarebbe al di lÓ delle sue capacitÓ.

Man Of Aran (Rough Trade, 2009) is a double-CD soundtrack to the 1934 film.

The Brakes, fronted by British Sea Power's keyboardist Eamon Hamilton and comprising brothers Alex and Tom White of the Electric Soft Parade and bassist Marc Beatty of Tenderfoot, debuted with Give Blood (Rough Trade, 2005), a rough and rowdy collection of witty and catchy garage-rock (Jackson), cowpunk (Ring a Ding Ding and funk-punk (All Night Disco Party). The best joke was akes Pick Up the Phone. The Brakes upgraded from the garage to the pub on The Beatific Visions (Rough Trade, 2006), restraining their wild and demented instincts and focusing more on the melodies than on the irony (Hold Me in the River, Cease and Desist).

As Eamon Hamilton left the British Sea Power, his high-school prank was rapidly evolving into a program of populist roots-rock. The project became even more professional on Touchdown (Fat Cat, 2009), that featured well-mannered power-pop such as Hey Hey and even languid country-pop such as Don't Take Me to Space.

Rock Is Dodelijk (2009) is a live album.

The 42-minute EP Zeus (2010) was zoo of styles and poses with little of substance.

It is not only that their U2-inspired pomp is all but groundbreaking, it's also that the band seems congenitally incapable of editing out the fluff, a fact that should be evident when the longest piece on Valhalla Dancehall (2011), the eleven-minute One More Now, is also the worst. Living Is Easy and Who's in Control are timid attempts at waking up from a letargy that is mostly aesthetic in nature.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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