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4.1 out of 5 stars30
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 31 May 2006
It's always nice when a record exceeds your expectations, particularly when you're expecting quite a lot.

'The Decline of British Sea Power' is a great record that rewards the more patient listener, although many find the rawness of some of the tracks at bit hard to take.

'Open Season' dispenses with most of the rough edges, and replaces them with an expansive sound which although perhaps less challenging, is at times bold and upfront, and at others beautiful and reflective (the cello on 'The Land Beyond' being one of many highpoints). Stomping pop tunes and brooding epics a speciality.

An apparent obsession with UK wildlife and World War II may not invite mainstream attention, and even the most attentive listener won't have a clue what they're on about most of the time, but in truth this is a great rock/pop album that offers something with that bit more magic than your usual Zutons/Arctic Monkeys/Futureheads etc etc plodders.

My favourite album of 2005 by some distance
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on 26 February 2012
One of the most interesting alternative bands around. I say alternative because they are still something of a cult here rather than a household name but even though that following took them once to number ten in the album charts I do wish that this band and the music they make were much more the trend setters than they are. With references ranging from everything from academic novelists, world war history and natural phenomena to Big Daddy often in the space of single songs and an increasingly grand guitar driven sound inspired by the ROCK :0) of the natural world that Arcade Fire owes a debt to and not the other way round not forgetting to mention their unorthodox foliage and plastic animals strewn live acts and their willingness to take this act to more than just your usual underground dive (local libraries, the highest pub in Britain, the Natural History Museum, the BBC Countryfile show anyone) they lay claim to be one of if not the most substantial and down right life affirming bands of the last ten years.

Of all their albums Open Season is the only one to leave me with a slight feeling that the band may be neglecting a bit their usual raw sound for one than is a little bit more chart friendly (and this albums two singles did sell noticeably better than others before or after). In my opinion its not a very British Sea Power thing to do and so, as a whole the album suffers a little bit because of it. But only a little bit because, if you pluck out the best songs from this album (naturally the ones that aren't so compromised) then they rank as some of the very very best the band has ever recorded. Of these the real highlight has to be Oh Larson B, a peculiar tale about an endangered shelf of Arctic ice backed by what I can only describe as an indie post-rock funk-a-thon that is so groovy I can't help but get up and wiggle about all over the room in the classic geeky way that Jarvis Cocker back in his mid nineties hey day. An absolute unadulterated joy :0).

There are some other highlights too though. North Hanging Rock is a handsome guitar ballad so quietly epic that they would rerecord it to provide one of the best sections of their properly epic soundtrack to the Man Of Aran documentary film in 2009 while True Adventures proves that Hamilton (the bands other main songwriter after his brother Yan) was developing into an accomplished songwriter in his own right specialising more so in extended slow moving and timeless sounding post-rock soundscapes of which this is a fine example.

P.s. to the new and uninitiated I hope you like the album. They have four more albums to try out that are just as good as this one. To the converted look out for the great website besteveralbums and put British Sea Power on your top 40. Who knows, maybe they'll even break the top ten some day here too :0).
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on 22 February 2009
This second album from British Sea Power is very different from both the other albums in its scope and sound. It still has the strange lyrical themes as found in 'Oh Larsen B' and 'North Hanging Rock' which are a favourite ice shelf and being part of nature respectivley. But there is none of the visceral and angular guitars which were found on the debut and certainley none of the anthems found on the third album. The only moment that it does would be on 'How Will I Ever Find My Way Home' with the brilliant Sonic Youth esque guitars. This is a much more understated album and its fantastic for doing that. It has a much more melodic and accesible feel to it, however this does not detract from the quality of the album. A brilliant follow up to the debut and really enjoyable because of the contrast.

Top 5 Tracks - 'It Ended On An Oily Stage', 'How Will I Ever Find My Way Home', 'North Hanging Rock', 'Oh Larsen B' and 'True Adventures'.
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on 24 March 2005
This is a great album from Brighton's - and Britain's - most distinctive and exciting band. It is a less abrasive and more upbeat album than 'The Decline of BSP', more 'radio friendly' you could say.
Single 'It Ended on an Oily Stage' is a prime example of this, a great pop song frayed at the edges. [The fade-out reminds me slightly of Wilco's 'A Ghost is Born', a reference point perhaps]
But otherwise most key BSP motifs remain. Their pastoral fixation [The song 'Oh Larsen B', a standout track, is an ode to an Antarctic ice shelf!], angular guitar from Noble, Yan's breathless vocals.
Bassist Hamilton also has his share of lead vocals, most memorably on the closing, seven and a half minute, 'True Adventures'. Opening with peals of thunder and a general cacophony that recalls Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the track then morphs into a quite exquisite ballad - epic, widescreen rock at its finest.
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on 13 September 2013
Bought after seeing the wonderful documentary 'Storyville' where some of the soundtrack is taken from this CD. I absolutley adore the CD, the tracks 'The Land beyond' and 'True Adventures' are particular favourites, I dont know how to compare with other music, I am a 'bit of an oldie'-I'm in my mid 60s, so I shall use words such as melodic, beautiful, delicious, sensitive, some tracks have me dancing away and singing (poor family) some tracks are so very lovely they make me stop and stay still, they even have made me shed a very slient tear, lovely things make me do this.....
Buy this and you will see what I mean.
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on 17 September 2005
This is the BSP's second album, following on from The Decline of BSP. All in all, this sequel is blander than their classic debut. The tone is generally sweeter than the first and the songs seem to blur...
That's until you really get under its skin. When you do, you'll discover every song's a carefully composed gem and they flow from one another with such sublime excellence that is seems like a steady stream of musical harmonies. The album is perfectly balanced to be up-lifting and soothing, but powerful and evocative at the same time. The songwriting's as good as their previous outing but a lack of ambition musically could have killed off this band. However, BSP somehow manage to make it work for them.
This album lacks songs with the same gusto as the incredible Remember Me, with the possible exception of Please Stand Up, a song that oozes glorious pop bliss. Other stand-outs include How Will I Ever Find My Way Home?, a song that unleashes the otherwise sub-dued guitars to good effect. Also, Tracks 7 and 8 are as catchy as hell, and the Land Beyond has Radio-Friendly written all over it. True Adventures is a fine sequel to their epic Lately and North Hanging Rock blooms and blossoms over time, but I can guarentee your personal faves will differ as all of the songs are worthy of mention.
Overall, it lacks the Oomph factor of The Decline of... and offers less stand-out beauties and Apologies to Insect Life is an unfortunate casualty as BSP attempt to broaden and mature to compose a masterpiece. Not a revolution, just a carefully-plotted evolution of a great band
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on 16 September 2010
I have to admit I was a little disappointed with Open Season when it first came out. The Decline Of British Sea Power had an immediacy and edge that Open Season appeared to lack when compared directly. However given time I came to love the more considered, mellow approach of Open Season (I must have done, having bought two CDs [gave one away] and a vinyl copy!), and now I find myself happy to award it 5 stars.
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on 7 February 2014
This is probably my favourite BSP album. I can listen to this several times in a go. I live in a small seaside town, and loved all the sound effects of herring gulls in some of the songs.

Everything from the Polar Bear illustration on the cover, to the last song (True Adventures is a particular favourite teach of mine) pleased me immensely.
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on 30 July 2014
Excellent band, lush melodies and great guitar play. Sometimes not so sure about the vocals but just get away with them.
There is a sweeping power to their music which reflects their grand name and the wonders of Britain. They have been going for a few years now and have always been at worst an interesting band.
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on 8 February 2007
With their wildly imaginative songs about God, longshore drift and Polar explorers, British Sea Power are the anti-Embrace and for that we should, well, embrace them.

In their eccentricity and quirkiness they're the spiritual heirs of the early Bunnymen, a fact further borne out by tracks like 'Please Stand Up' and 'It Ended On An Oily Stage' which feature guitars lifted straight off 'Ocean Rain.' BSP even have a similar fascination with the elements; wind, snow and ice percolate and swirl through their songs.

Amongst many fine tracks, the album's centrepiece is 'Oh Larsen B' which is powered along by a ferocious bassline.

Musically, one or two of the songs veer a little close to MOR but even when they do there's always something fascinating going on in the lyrics.

Lead singer Yan has one of those 'brave' voices which may not be technically accomplished but transmits a childlike wonder at the world. Live, he has a mesmeric intensity - kind of Ian Curtis crossed with Howard Devoto.

British Sea Power are a bulwark against the mediocrity and lack of adventure that characterises too much of what passes for 'indie' music these days.
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