British Sea Power

Open Season (Rough Trade)

Phases & Stages

British Sea Power

Open Season (Rough Trade)

Winston Churchill famously said (or maybe didn't) that the traditions of the British Navy were "rum, buggery, and the lash." Who's to say which of these most contributed to the success of 2003's The Decline of British Sea Power; all that can be said definitively is that British Sea Power's debut was raw, cagey, and chock-full of homoerotic lyrics. It was the thinking person's perfect post-glam album, rife with meaning and bulging with pure rock power. Its follow-up, Open Season, finds the Cumbrian lads veering away from glam and into the arms of Eighties British New Wave. Gone are the great hunks of guitar chords, replaced by chilly synths and a moody, glossy Echo & the Bunnymen aesthetic. The music's no less sly, with meta-moments peppering the landscape; with "North Hanging Rock," singer Yan implores us to "drape yourself in greenery, become part of the scenery" (BSP's gimmick is outfitting themselves and the stage with local flora). The smartest thing about Open Season, ultimately, is that these gents tweak their sound with more than a little subtlety and still retain the spirit of the project, which is an accomplishment deserving an increase in grog rations. (Emo's, Saturday, May 7)

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