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Valhalla Dancehall CD

3.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (10 Jan. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Rough Trade Records
  • ASIN: B004A1NMSW
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,342 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

1. who's in control3:14 2. we are sound4:47 3. georgie ray3:47 5. mongk ii4:48listen 6. luna4:17listen 7. baby5:46listen 8. living is so easy4:01 9. observe the skies3:2310. cleaning out the rooms7:1111. thin black sail1:4612. once more now11:1313. heavy water

BBC Review

While British indie music remains at the mercy of boom and bust hype cycles and the vagaries of fashion – just how dated do The Libertines sound now? What happened to Klaxons’ second album? – it’s quite possible that the greatest achievement of Brighton’s British Sea Power is to have something approximating a stable, modest, ‘normal’ career. Viewed fondly by the music press but never hyped to the heavens, making accessible music but clearly unburdened by the desire to write a hit, eccentric but never preposterous, BSP’s three previous albums proper have each scored strong reviews and incrementally higher chart positions and fourth set Valhalla Dancehall seems profoundly unlikely to buck that trend.

Mixing the sort of luminescently sinister ballads that have stood the band in good stead throughout their career with chaotic, colourful smears of guitar rock that break with the sepia tones of 2008’s Do You Like Rock Music?, this is an album that neither treads water nor reinvents the wheel. Instead, it sees BSP continue their stately, unruffled progress.

It’s the band’s dense, oblique lyricism that’s generally prevented their oft-anthemic guitar rock seeming regressive, but on tracks like Who’s in Control?, Georgie Ray and Living is So Easy the band warp the music to match the words; stormy, elastic squalls of incandescent sound that lack the hooky polish of the band’s early material, yet seethe and churn with greater force. "Sometimes I wish protesting was sexy on a Saturday night!" roars vocalist Hamilton on Who’s in Control? before pummelling drums and screeds of feedback obliterate the song’s vestigial structure; there’s something of the roiling disorder we’ve seen on the UK’s streets of late to the track, music to bother royalty to.

It’s thrilling stuff, so it’s a shame Valhalla Dancefloor has a flat-ish final third: Heavy Water is a moving closer, but the preceding Once More Now is a pretty staid 10 minutes – if the band wanted an epic finale, they’d have been much better served including the gorgeous Bear from their recent Zeus EP. Still, that record isn’t totally neglected: the stifling Mongk II (a reworking of the EP’s Mongk) is a foreboding tour de force, buzzing with dread, the band’s most powerful song to date.

--Andrzej Lukowski

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Jan. 2011
Format: Audio CD
British Sea Power truly came of age with their 2008 release
'Do You Like Rock Music?' (We did and we still do!); 2009
delivered an interesting reflective diversion in the form
of the CD/DVD project 'Man Of Arran'. So very early into the
New Year and they return with a stunning new album which
bursts out of the speakers with the kind of joyous confidence
which deserves to steer them well into the mainstream of the
listening world. 'Valhalla Dancehall' really is made of terrific
stuff! Big emotional music which cannily avoids ever being brash
or pompous despite the often epic proportions of its sonic visions.

There are thirteen tracks in the collection; dense, highly-structured
arrangements which manage to feel fresh and spontaneous without
ever sounding over-worked. On the contrary there is a raw edge just
below the surface of a good number of these compositions which
really does make the hair stand up on the back of our necks!

Just listen to the ravishing guitar interventions at the heart of
the wonderful number 'Georgie Ray' for evidence of how far this
cracking band have come. Stuff to truly stir the mind and spirit!

The quality of musical invention and imagination barely lapses
for a moment. With songs of the calibre of 'Luna', a droll
mid-paced little wonder which brims over with moonlight and
palpable emotion; 'Observe The Skies', a raucous, hard-riding,
fast-driving piece of perfectly conceived uplifting rock; the
spectacularly wide inner-horizons of 'Cleaning Out Rooms' (a
daringly sustained long breath of a song which is so good it
almost hurts!
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By Red on Black TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Jan. 2011
Format: 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.
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Format: Audio CD
If I were British Sea Power, I would right now be feeling a little cheesed off with the press.
Not that the reviews have been bad, far from it, but most have said that Valhalla is basically another British Sea Power album with a few tweaks and enhancements.
For me, nothing could be further from the truth.
The band have clearly spent an awful lot of time on this album, and to be frank, although there are moments when it's unmistakeably them, these are in the minority.
Some parts put me in mind of Arcade Fire, others Blur and Kasabian.
Whereas Do You Like Rock Music was a fine album, it didn't excite me, it never drew me in so that I HAD to play it again and again. To be honest, the only way i can put it is that I found it a little two-dimensional.

VD, on the other hand, has so much more depth and variation of sound; the guitar heavy tracks interspersed with more keyboard-centred and bass heavy songs; vocals are much improved, and with more variety of tone.
In short, this is a much more grown-up album whilst still retaining bags of charm and most importantly, FUN !!

I've had a passion for music of many kinds for 40 years now, and for me, this is one of the finest albums I;ve heard in the last 5 years.
Yes, the cover may look a bit chap and nasty; the contents are far from it. Approaching genius. Buy !!
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Format: Audio CD
..As Yan says in the distinctly "normal" album closer "Heavy Waters". However, there is little "obvious" about BSP or this album... This album is arguably there most disconcertingly accessible with moments (as Carlo Ancelotti may say) of lyrical brilliance matching musical majesty on a more consistent basis than ever before. If it is their shot at the commercial big time then great, they deserve wide scale success (with gritted teeth from one of the few that seem to "get it")- but thankfully they haven't lost any eccentricity or charm. The fact they can toss tracks like "Bear" "Zeus" "Lucky Bicycle" etc on to a pre-album EP suggests that BSP are not fussed about the wider audience. As Yan says on "Bear"- "I saw reading the Daily Star, saw you watching the X-Factor and I was wondering how could you fall so far?"- Pop Culture, referenced but not integrated...

Best moments on the album for me are live favourite "Who's in Control?" , "Mongk II" (Although arguably Mongk on Zeus EP is a better mix), "Georgie Ray" and "Thin Black Sail" (palette cleanser that it is!)The variety in those four tracks alone would be enough to sustain many bands for many moons, quite frankly!

Looking forward to the Thekla and my sixth trip to see the best live band in the UK.

"If you want it, you can have it...it's not really complicated"
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