Album review: British Sea Power – Let The Dancers Inherit The Party
PUBLISHED: 13:00 06 April 2017
This crowd-funded record puts BSP back in the frame – food for hearts, minds and feet
The fifth LP from the lovably leftfield Brighton rockers comes after their split from former label Rough Trade and a four-year period in which they recorded no less than three soundtrack albums.
Inevitably informed by international political upheavals, Dancers… was recorded last summer but, as those who’ve already tuned into album taster Bad Bohemian will attest, rather than let the doom and hand-wringing pollute their sonics, the band have turned out a set of (generally) upbeat and pop-focused rock.
The single still carries identifiable strains of the BSP of old – singer Yan Wilkinson’s slight vocal quiver and gasps of “Don’t let us die while we are still alive” will be catnip to hardcore fans – yet there are signs of evolution and momentum in its equally breathless rush of New Order-style guitar and synth motifs.
Indeed, keyboard and synths are more prominent across the whole record, executed in tandem with guitars and a hint of the eccentricity that made their 2003 debut such a thrill.
Evoking historic figures, propaganda and impending war to reflect uncomfortably on the state of the world, Yan’s lyrics are married to often disarmingly upbeat pop melodies, triumphing over the darkness with sheer, boundless force.
But look beyond the primary-coloured, easy-going guitar riffs and you’ll soon find more than enough invention and evocation to redress the balance.
The majestic half-loping, half-prowling ballad Electrical Kittens (“And we’ll all hold hands as the radio plays/Say our little prayer for halcyon days”) and Saint Jerome’s impassioned cries and ominous scraping, roiling guitar climax remind you BSP can feed the heart, mind and feet.
The drone-influenced Alone Piano provides succour for fans of the band’s calmer moments; a hypnotic, gauzy weave of percussion and eccentric string floating between a warm, felt-like layer of bass and the leading, plaintive piano notes – alone certainly, but not lonely.
Cohesive, focused and thought-provoking in the best possible way, we’ve never needed BSP as much as we do now.
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