British Sea Power - Open Season

2009-09-08 09:58

British Sea Power's subtle arrangements and repetitive motifs may blur your ears at first, but soon very hook driven pop melodies, that evoke a familiar musical landscape, emerge from their droll cradle of lush arrangements.

A familiar landscape? Well, much British pop sound echoes the grey skies and damp chill of the powerful little island it comes from. Think "Every day is like a Sunday / Every day is silent and grey". Morrissey may have been talking about depression, but the weather is straight from a Brighton winter. You'll find more songs that go "Here comes the rain again" than those that go "Here comes the sun". In fact, British bands hardly ever write about nature to celebrate it, rather using it as a symbol of tragedy.

British Sea Power make this chilly place beautiful. Their songs are washed in tones and tunes influenced by mostly-miserable music groups from The Cure, to Bowie, to Echo and the Bunnymen. Yet they celebrate the beauty of a fairyland countryside in wistfully cheerful tunes.

Lead singer Yan's shimmering, loud yet whispered vocals, highlighted by deep drums, are articulated by high pitched bird calls, piano and guitar, a mix that seems to evoke light as it pours through clouds.

To the increasingly diluted alternative scene, British Sea Power bring what they themselves call their pastoral ethic - a real, wry, love of the patchworked rural English landscape "All sectioned off like a honeycomb". They evoke an amplified, spacious, ghostly joy, in high contrast to the plastic, formulaic pop mainstream. They infuse their darker moments with something humorous, sincere, and touching - think Gary Larson cartoons, not Wordsworth's poetry.


Open Season is rich with character and brimming with invention.
- Todd Hutlock for Stylus Magazine

By maintaining their singular aesthetic while venturing into more inviting pop sounds, the weirdest band from Brighton just might have become the smartest.
- Brian Howe for Pitchfork Media

Lake District lads British Sea Power are signed to classy alternative label Rough Trade. Their first album was a hit with critics, but hard work for the public. For a start, it was loud. It was also pastoral - all about nature, not about sex, drugs, and other topics music fans are accustomed to being sold. And they were intentionally odd onstage - they wore WW I uniforms when performing and scattered stuffed animals onstage. But, as idiosyncratically British as they may be, their music is delici

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