Monday, 25 February 2008

Review - British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?

British Sea Power have always promised lots, and the hype each time they get close to releasing some new material sometimes reaches fever pitch, and the last few times it has not really delivered, meeting the thin line between good indie and bad indie - think first album Coldplay and the latest album from Embrace. Can they survive an unfavourable situation created by them this time?

In a small way, yes, but not without a few mistakes here and there. The opener All in It is very epic, and sets the tone, for an album that depicts the universe, expansive and wonderful, but with the problem that it is viewed from earth. Instead of the full universe, with all the supernovae and the planets, we get a few blurry pictures, the promise of space and amazing new worlds, and a few comets every so often.

The following tracks have worrying tones that at any moment they might break into twee or stadium-epicness without needing to, see Atom for one that does fall into this. The over blown production allows it to seem epic with going into the stadium chorus staple, and the problem is that it does use the wall of sound and higher-pitched guitar and individual notes of U2, but wrapped in a warmingly indie package that transcends the rest of the song. Think Arcade Fire during a volcano eruption, and the alarming thought of world war and the album will feel like it should.

But, herein lies the problem with British Sea Power, and in essence, with Do You Likes Rock Music?; it promises much, gives a lot, but allows just never reaches where you want and expect it reach. The feel of a band exploring its reach, and the boundaries their musicianship allow them to go for. The album does lull slightly after the first listen but initially, if this was based on first listen only, the album would have got full marks. Listening to it again and again, and wondering where that feeling I had achieved the first time was, reminded me of the question that the title asks: Do You Like Rock Music? I do, and I like this – but, in actuality, and infinitely, is this even Rock Music, capitalised?

This is a journey, a great, warm, epic, stunning, sometimes universal, most of the time life assuring, and all the time fantastic journey, that whilst the first time you make it you will be impressed and surprised, the returning journeys will be less exciting, like returning to your favourite holiday destination from when you were a child as an adult. British Sea Power have always promised lots, and wile this does give, it just falls slightly short, and, cripplingly, over stretches what it does have.


1 comment:

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