Saturday, February 02, 2008

Album Review: British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music? (4/5)

Do You Like Rock Music? asks the title of British Sea Power's third album. If you're listening, then the answer better be "yes," since the album is chock full of the kind of big guitar-and-chorus sound favored by many British bands of late from Embrace to The Editors. For awhile, everyone wanted to sound like Coldplay, tinkling pianos in tow. Now they want to sound like a U2, with albums trying to duplicate that filling-up-a-stadium sound but in your own home.

The band starts the album with that firmly in mind for "All in It," a lively upbeat opener with a big we're-all-singing-along chorus. Following tracks "Lights Out for Darker Skies" and "No Lucifer" tone things down only a bit before letting loose with the dramatic "Waving Flags." This song really reminds me of the Editors, graced as it is with layered guitars doing that vibratto thing and layered vocals that hover between haunting and ethereal. It's definitely my favorite track. Rockin' "A Trip Out" is also a standout among the more upbeat tracks, as is the melodic "Down on the Ground."

The mellower--I use that term relatively--tracks don't do it for me as much, such as "Canvey Island," which I found a bit tedious, or "The Great Skua," an instrumental track that never manages to take off. I do however like the reassuring "No Need to Cry" and gentle "Open the Door."

Some critics have compared this to The Arcade Fire, but I find the Editors to be much more apt. For those (like me) who were underwhelmed by their latest, An End Has a Start, might find an antidote in this very British, very now set.

Best: Waving Flags, No Lucifer, Down on the Ground, Lights Out for Darker Skies, All In It, Open the Door

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