Customer Review

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars British Sea Power - Rule the waves, 10 Jan 2011
This review is from: Valhalla Dancehall (Audio CD)
What is it about some albums that you like them but never quite grow to love them? British Sea Power's Mercury nominated "Do you like rock music" (2008) is clearly massively regarded by Amazon reviewers and with tracks like "Waving flags" its hard not to be impressed by the epic grandeur of it all. Yet as an album it has been a relative stranger to the turntable in this dez rez over the past two years. As such approaching "Valhalla Dancehall" the new album by the impressive Brighton indie rock band generated mixed feelings, not least with what is pretty poor artwork adorning the cover. After listening to the album on repeat some of these doubts are still there, although this is an album which will undoubtedly grow with repeated listens and it has those sure tell tale signs that suggest it could be a real "stayer".

Certainly "Valhalla Dancehall" is a nice blend of anthems which deserve a rather large stadium to be fully appreciated combined with pop songs like "Georgie Ray" which owe some debt to David Bowie and actually nod a wink to Coldplay. It all starts splendidly with the huge rocker "Whose in control" which deserves a massive sprawling crowd in a gigantic summer festival to chant along to its infectious chorus, huge riffs and overpowering guitar work. It will literally knock the plastic pineapple off the top of the television and bring crashing down the ducks off the wall; it deserves to be a huge hit and will grow to be loved by discerning rock fans. Another song falling into this category is the brilliant pop orientated "Observe the skies" which will click the "repeat" button in your brain and have you singing it on loop within your head. Other fine moments include the gentle bubbling single "Living is so easy" which suggests a small echo of the Cure, while "Mongk II" is a massive gothic beast sung in tunnel like tones with echoes of Manchester's finest Joy Division.

All these show the band in fine form and prove that on there day they have few peers in the wonderful isles of Britain. Where however things go slightly awry is on the never ending "One more now" whose dreary 11 minutes doesn't fit the albums sequence or mood. Similarly "Stunde Null" could soundtrack one of those awful vampire movies that are so popular at the moment and sounds like My Chemical Romance with a banging hangover. Much much better is "Cleaning out the rooms" a gorgeous synth heavy ballad that reeks atmosphere and has an eerie doomed romanticism about it and this is reinforced by "Baby" which floats beautifully across its near six minute duration, weaving warm lines and a Pink Floyd "Wish you were here" ambiance.

Overall this is a very accessible and well constructed rock album from a band who deserve greater recognition and a wider audience. True there are some missteps located on "Valhalla Dancehall" but this can be put down to the bands desire to experiment and cross genres rather than poor songwriting or padding with filler. British Sea Power are an impressive crew and if this is your first purchase of the year you will not regret it.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Jan 2011 18:37:08 GMT
Mazi Pan says:
Whats wrong with the art work we thought it looks great!!

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jan 2011 19:06:33 GMT
Red on Black says:
Mazi Pan
Obviously all down to taste but a green horse in triangle doesn't really push any buttons for me. It looks like someone has just completed their BTEC graphic design! Surely the title Valhalla Dancehall deserved at minimum an image of Vikings (preferably played by Kirk Douglas) in an enormous hall with a disco getting down with their funky stuff? Music's great though.

Regards R o B

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2011 16:52:22 GMT
Bob Salter says:
Thanks for your excellent review. Have you listened to the brilliant soundtrack they did for "Man of Aran". Very unusual, but also very, very good. As you say they are a talented group that deserve to be better known.



In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jan 2011 21:25:13 GMT
Red on Black says:
Bob many thanks for your kind comment. I listened to this again in the car today and fear that as "Who is in control" exploded out of the car speakers that my speed may not have strictly been in accord with the guidelines in the highway code. Its great stuff and I will certainly check out Man of Aran which has passed me by to date.

Regards R o B

Posted on 26 Jan 2011 13:52:52 GMT
Fatpie 1664 says:
A fine review - my only complaint is that it has 3 too many songs on it and you've highlighted the ones that shouldn't have been on it. Considering the great tracks on the Zeus EP, BSP are coming up with the goods. Also a 4/5 album for me.

Posted on 12 Feb 2011 19:34:37 GMT
Tastydogs says:
An insightful review. I loved 'Do you like rock music ?' & play it often yet all the people I recommended it to listened to it, liked it, and never listened to it again something that thios reviewer confirms. I like the quirky thoughtfulness of BSP but on this new album was surprised at the use of swear words likely to keep tracks off radio playlists. Looking forward to seeing them live in their home town with or without artwork- perhaps the designs work better on T shirts

Posted on 31 Aug 2011 11:36:44 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Sep 2011 17:17:04 BDT
Super review as always Mr Red on Black. Nice work!

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Sep 2011 15:50:38 BDT
Red on Black says:
B A Holdaway thank you for your very kind remarks. Im on foreign shores at the moment but I can be contacted on

Cheers r o b
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Review Details



Red on Black

Top Reviewer Ranking: 29