Spotlight: British Sea Power

1am, Rockstars

Spotlight: British Sea Power

The sun hasn't yet set on the British Empire. It's just that the grab for new subjects is taking a sneakier, more pleasant form, at least where the five Cumbrian lads of British Sea Power are concerned.

Cumbria is in the northwestern part of England, called the Lake District, near Manchester and Lancashire. Think Wuthering Heights, ancient stone circles, and druidic mysticism.

"All bands don't come from London," says Noble, BSP's painfully polite guitarist. "It's a place where poets like Wordsworth come from; it's a really pastoral place."

This alone should help distinguish the group from its peers, but they've decided to take their otherness to more fragrant levels.

"We started a club night [Club Sea Power] in Brighton," explains Noble. "We wanted to make it special, and we got the idea of filling the whole place with branches – it really smelled lovely in there."

Not long after, the stuffed birds joined the mise-en-scène, and a trademark (or gimmick) was born. Rough Trade kingpin Geoff Travis took in a gig at Sea in 2001 and presented the lads with a contract that very night. That's when another, more strange British invasion began, culminating in BSP's debut full-length, The Decline of British Sea Power, last fall. The group has since garnered comparisons to Joy Division, only with chunkier riffs and brighter faces.

"We wanted to make songs that are kind of human, sort of melancholy, and rockers – the whole scope in between," explains Noble. "We didn't want to be a band with one sound that stays the same every album."

One thing Noble claims won't be the same is BSP's behavior at SXSW 04.

"I think we'll be a bit more relaxed this time, instead of guitars and chairs being thrown around."

The British are coming – by land, this time – so get ready.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Wednesday Interview
Wednesday Interview
Delta Spirit

Jim Caligiuri, March 20, 2015

Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
Wednesday Picks & Sleepers
First night SXSW Music recommendations and hints

March 20, 2015

More by Melanie Haupt
Gifts for Sweet Teeth
Gifts for Sweet Teeth
Say it with sugar this holiday season

Dec. 2, 2022

Talkin’ Chicken With Jacques Pépin at the Texas Book Festival
Talkin’ Chicken With Jacques Pépin at the Texas Book Festival
The revered culinarian’s new book showcases his paintings and stories of poultry

Nov. 4, 2022


British Sea Power, Noble, The Decline of British Sea Power, Joy Division, Rough Trade, Club Sea Power

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle