Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

British Sea Power
The Decline Of British Sea Power

There must be something in the water in Brighton. Maybe it's effluence, perhaps industrial waste, possibly even a mix of dead fish, used condoms and washed up big beat DJs. Who knows? Long-shore drift is a curious beast. It gives and it takes. But the moment you try to mess with it, it’ll ditch your neighbour’s cliffside villa into the sea faster than a game of hunt the weapons of mass destruction. Or maybe it’s written into the housing contracts? Three bedrooms, two receptions, sea view, £320 a week, must form slightly quirky off-kilter rock band. Whichever, Brighton bands tend to err on the eccentric side of life. Look, over there, it’s Clearlake with their fictitious fishing village and neo-Floydisms. And who’s that behind you? It’s the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster doing their hard-rocking, donkey-punching psychobilly Cramps revival thing while their singer does his best to impersonate Jon Penny from Ned’s Atomic Dustbin.

So it’s little surprise then, that British Sea Power have come across as being a few pavilions short of a seaside resort. But if that’s what made them sound like a curious new wave amalgam of Magazine, Talking Heads, post-Pixes era Frank Black, and mid-70’s David Bowie, then I’m all for it. Which is just as well, because each song on “The Decline Of…” is essentially just a variation of that theme. ‘Remember Me’ would have had no problem making itself at home on either of the first two Frank Black albums, ‘Carrion’ sounds like the entirety of Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ album compacted into four minutes and the seventy second thrash of ‘Favours In The Beetroot Fields’ is loaded with riffs straight out of a Howard Devoto songbook.

On this evidence, it seems that auto-instigated rumours of British Sea Power’s decline may have been greatly exaggerated, just as long as they don’t use that cliff-side swimming pool.