British Sea Power
April 4th 2005
Rough Trade Records
So this will be a rare one-paragraph review. I know that is short, but I have other things to do…like delete the album I am about to review from my media player. I was at Sound Fix Records buying my regular Tuesday’s dose of music when I came across Open Season by Brighton based British Sea Power. I was happy with the price and with the CMJ marathon impending, I added it to my stack. What a mistake. Nearly every song on Open Season seems contrived and is entirely too accessible. I have trouble understanding what aspect of the band has appealed to the hip masses across Britain and the States. Victorian Ice has some style. It is tinged with an American-Midwestern beat and reminds me of when I drank moonshine at dusk on my porch in the summer while the cicadas buzzed and the lightning bugs swarmed. For that I am thankful. It’s just that I had to wait through some of the most ill-conceived pop songs ever recorded before my nostalgia was triggered. As for the rest of the CD, just because someone shamelessly lifts the melody from the verse of Love Will Tear Us Apart and inserts it into synthed-over distortion it does not make them post-punk.
Okay, maybe another paragraph. I am a fan of layers, textures and orchestrations, but British Sea Power’s add-ons don’t mask the underlying problem. Scott Wilkinson‘s vocals are boring, lifeless, and uninspired. What’s worse is that the lyrics sound as if they were written by the Charmin Teddy Bear on a binge of ketamine and Pop-Rocks. Some of the more positive reviews circulating must be either well paid or part of an international conspiracy to leech trouble making youths of their sub-culturally subversive spirit. What ever the case it is clear that they did not deserve to headline the World’s Fair curated showcase for CMJ at the Bowery Ballroom. In all reality I am convinced that it’s a joke. I mean, I think that this whole bit is supposed to be ironic…a farce. Sure they sound like Journey, The Cure, Joy Division and Morrissey all rolled up into one…No, really…