British Sea Power - The Decline of British Sea Power (Cover Artwork)

British Sea Power

British Sea Power: The Decline of British Sea PowerThe Decline of British Sea Power (2003)
Rough Trade

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:

Contributed by: YourBloodyValentineYourBloodyValentine
(others by this writer | submit your own)

For South by Southwest (SXSW) 2003, these guys hopped on a plane from England to play two shows for the annual Texas music and film festival. I don't care who you are–even if you are the most obnoxious, sniveling, and condescending music arbiter for Pitchfork–nobody in the United States .
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For South by Southwest (SXSW) 2003, these guys hopped on a plane from England to play two shows for the annual Texas music and film festival. I don't care who you are–even if you are the most obnoxious, sniveling, and condescending music arbiter for Pitchfork–nobody in the United States had any real idea of who these guys were because they had yet to release a debut album. This album was released four months after SXSW, and all the band had released prior were a couple of 2-3 song EP's available in the UK. Consequently, only about 30 people were at the show.

However, it fucking destroyed. The band dressed the stage in foliage, and played wearing military khaki and greens. It seemed like a cute novelty, until the guitar player whirled his guitar and launched it like a torpedo into the crowd, crashing into some poor guy watching the show (who I later learned was Geoff Travis, the owner of Rough Trade Records.) The crowd was dumbfounded and their jaws were hanging with shock like broken limbs. Said guitarist then climbs a rafter and opens the club's storage area shrouded by red velvet curtains, and begins throwing heavy wooden chairs at the crowd below while they scramble for safe cover. Next, the singer leaps off the stage, but nobody is there to catch him because the crowd is frantically running around; he lands head first and jolts around on the floor like he's having a seizure. Meanwhile, the guitarist is still throwing down chairs like lightning from an angry Zeus, while bouncers and bartenders are screaming for everything to stop.

After witnessing this, I naturally had to buy their debut album. Some reviews compare them to Joy Division–yeah, I can see that, but don't expect wannabe Ian Curtis rehash. The record starts with some choral-like chanting, and then discharges two frantic–almost dancy–songs with riffing guitars and frenetic vocals. After the first three tracks, the record shifts gears and changes tone–which is not a bad thing. The strength of British Sea Power is their ability to write melancholy songs with cascading instrumentation. Musically they are not gloomy soundtrack music for some goth kid, but the presentation and content of the lyrics create a strong, brooding, and morose atmosphere. Musically, some songs could be easily labeled as pop.

My favorite song is Fear of Drowning. It's fucking brilliant. It starts with this haunting wind-swirling sound, and the vocalist sings, "Jesus Fucking Christ, Oh God No," while somebody is gasping in the background. My other favorite is Carrion. Sounds cliché, but you should buy this album for those two songs alone. The record also contains a 14 minute song that climaxes with a piano, static-like vocals, and yelling.

The band draws comparisons to Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust era, and the Pixies. They also toured with Interpol. If you like any of said bands, then you need to make it a priority to check-out British Sea Power.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (March 26, 2004)

referring to the person who thought that was real band footage in 24 hour party people, it wasn't. It was the actors. Did a good job didn't they? they learned to play the songs a bit so they wouldn't look completely off while the recording plays.

Anonymous (November 29, 2003)


Anonymous (November 28, 2003)

hey knife party - that's what we're having over at the thought riot interview.

So far, vandal's losing...bad.

Anonymous (November 28, 2003)

Taken from knifeparty.com

British Sea Power in tree-related pre-gig mishap.. 11/28/03 by lollirot
The bassist of British Sea Power sprained his wrist when he fell out of a tree gathering branches for the band's show... the fall was caused when one of his bandmates sawed off the branch he was standing on. The injury forced the band to cancel their show at Buckinghamshire Chiltern's Student Union (November 24).

Yeah, I know.


Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

i have no idea what's going on.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

YOU put on a 'kooky' and 'eccentric' live show? I was referring to the band.

Just FYI, I write for a zine too.

You write a good review, but I don't really agree with your view. I wouldn't be sad enough to aim such comments at the reviewer.

Sorry you misinterpreted my bitter opinion, but these guys have ruined my evening before. Gits.

YourBloodyValentine (November 25, 2003)

"Please stop supporting bands I like so I don't have to put up with your 'kooky' and 'eccentric' live show."

I assume this is directed at me. You don't have to "put-up" with shit--I did not bust down your door in an excited craze asking you to read this. It was your decision to voluntarily visit the site and click on the link to read another person's opinion.

It's fine if you disagree with the review, what I think of the band, or my writing, but don't act like it's some kind of obstruction that cramps your life. It‚??s an alternate opinion that you can disagree with.

It's pretty easy to be a Sunday quarterback and bitch‚??how about you contributing effort and time to help inform people of bands they never may have heard of. In other words, let's see you actively participate information to a community rather than trying abate it with anonymous and adolescent comments.

Moreover, you comment doesn't make sense considering the double negative: "Terrible band," followed by, "Please stop supporting bands I like so I don't have to put up with your 'kooky' and 'eccentric' live show."


Anonymous (November 24, 2003)

Terrible band. Please stop supporting bands I like so I don't have to put up with your 'kooky' and 'eccentric' live show.

Anonymous (November 24, 2003)

1. The album is not "fucking terrible."

2. You probably think so because you like to say things like, "the show was bomb."

3. "Guitarist punched me in the face and laughed at me."


Anonymous (November 23, 2003)

this cd is fucking terrible but that show was the bomb, seriously, i thought they were gonna kill me, before they went on stage the guitarist punched me in the face and laughed at me.

Anonymous (November 23, 2003)

Oh fuck yes. I'm not kidding, I actually thought the knitting of the real band footage into the rest of the movie is how all music films should be done. That way we don't have to watch some way-off like-a-look lip sinking to someone elses music and lyrics... That gets embarrassing


Anonymous (November 23, 2003)

While we're on the subject 24 Hour Party People is THE BEST film ever made

Anonymous (November 22, 2003)

Two bands who wished they were Joy Division touring together? What was it, the ShouldHaveHangedOurselvesTwentyYearsAgo Tour? ahahaha. Because Ian Curtis killed himelf.


Anonymous (November 22, 2003)

Thoink...!!!! It's like splat...

pow! bam! ...thoink!

WingsOutside (November 21, 2003)

I'll pick this albumn up after christmas. Ive been thionking about getting it for a long time just never got myself to do it...

Anonymous (November 21, 2003)

Joy Division?...I gotta check this out....considering I was listening and bumming myself out to JD just as I checked this review lol.

Anonymous (November 21, 2003)

I'm really into this.

Anonymous (November 21, 2003)

Oh!!! He said "This review was PRETTY good" - man that sucks, usually the reviews are "Good" what was so bad about this one?

superdude (November 21, 2003)

This review was pretty good, but here's how I would make it better:

1. They would proabably sell more albums if they had the same cover as the new Blink 182

2. If this is such a classic, then why would they be in decline?

3. When they draw comparisons to all those other bands, do they show them to people?

4. I'd love to buy thier comparison to Eddie Van Halen if they ever draw one

5. Wait a minute, they all draw at the same time?

6. WoW!

cubaricho (November 21, 2003)

I've seen this album in the local record store for some time but I've always thought it was a spoken word record or something.

I'll grab it next time.

Anonymous (November 21, 2003)

Best name, ever.


P-Fresh (November 21, 2003)

I NEED to hear this.

sean_o (November 21, 2003)

On the fact alone that someone in the band acts like an early Eddie Vedder, this gets a ten.


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