British Sea Power

The Decline of British Sea Power (Rough Trade)

SXSW Records

British Sea Power

The Decline of British Sea Power (Rough Trade) Sussex fivepiece British Sea Power is the sort of band that inspires UK rock bible Q to write things like, "a mangled patriotic vision in which Orwell's old maids weren't hiking to Holy Communion, they were drowning themselves in warm beer and lobbing cricket balls through the vestry window." Huh? Vestry? Praise like that usually translates into zero Stateside impact, but not so fast. The Decline of British Sea Power is undeniably dense and atmospheric, but not inaccessible. With its pinched-nerve vocals and fractured surf guitar, "Apologies to Insect Life" contains a hint of the Pixies, and the lovely, cascading "Remember Me" and "The Lonely" each owe a debt to Thin White Duke-era Bowie. "Blackout" takes a few spins to realize it's not an outtake to Echo & the Bunnymen's Ocean Rain. Obviously, none of this is bad, or even particularly inscrutable, although meltdown "Lately" does ramble for more than 13 minutes. Nonetheless, Decline is overall an enchanting, rhapsodic album of uncommon depth. Lord knows why they've chosen to write about beetroot fields, insects, and wooden horses, but that's neither here nor there. Perhaps it's just Britons' way of making "country music." Who are we to argue? (Friday, March 19, 1am @ Rockstars)

****.5

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