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As A Whole Perhaps Not BSP At Their Best But When Its Good It's Very Very Good Indeed,
This review is from: Open Season (Audio CD)
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).