British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music ? (2008) Resident Brightonites, British Sea Power, have never followed the crowd. Eccentric, whimsical and blessed with the freedom that an indie label and insanely loyal fan base bring, each record has defied expectations. The seafarer’s third album again tests the limits of what we conceive as ‘rock’.

A dark, churchlike presence runs through Do You Like Rock Music? that drags you under the pounding drums and chants. From opener “All In It” violin arrangements and touches of organ add a distinctly lush, anthemic feel to the tracks that’s reminiscent of Arcade Fire. The Canadians’ influence is hardly surprising. Howard Bilerman, drummer on Arcade Fire’s debut Funeral, is one of the album’s three producers and part of the recording schedule even took in the crazy Canadian storms, with the sound of power lines snapping under the weight of ice.

coverparadise.toDrenched in the rousing chanting behind Yan’s lush, breathy vocals on “No Lucifier”, or the stunning, layered epic guitar-scapes in “Waving Flags” – there’s a real cerebral sense of rock at play here. It will undoubtedly make you gawp, when you see this kind of shattering reverb live at a festival this summer.

This record is not all about Canada. Producers Graham Sutton (Jarvis Cocker, Bark Psychosis) and Efrim Menuck (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) worked alongside Bilerman and recorded in locations as varied as Cornwall and the Czech Republic. Miraculously the album comes together without any hint of discombobulation.

There is some familiar territory – “Atom” and “Down On The Ground” both appeared on the band’s recent EP Krankenhaus? Yet it’s not all bombast. Repeat listens do reveal subtle, less dramatic moments on tracks such as “No Need to Cry” and “The Great Skua”. Altogether it’s an inventive and intriguing listen, never quite laying itself bare and all the more powerful when listened to in its entirety. ( Sonja D’Cruze)

Martin Noble (guitar)
Neil Wilkinson (Hamilton) (bass, vocals, guitar)
Scott Wilkinson (Yan) (vocals, guitar)
Matthew Wood (drums)
Abi Fry (Abi Fry) – Viola

01. All In It (Yan) 2.11
02. Lights Out For Darker Skies (Yan) 6.36
03. No Lucifer (Hamilton) 3.27
04. Waving Flags (Noble/Yan) 4.07
05. Canvey Island (Yan) 3.41
06. Down On The Ground (Hamilton) 4.23
07. A Trip Out (Hamilton/Wood) 3.16
08. The Great Skua (Noble) 4.35
09. Atom (Yan) 5.38
10. No Need To Cry (Hamilton) 3.43
11. Open The Door (Hamilton) 4.56
12. We Close Our Eyes (Yan) 8.04*