Saturday, 22 September 2012

Fanboy Rant: British Sea Power

British Sea Power has always stood out from their early ‘00s British contemporaries. For a start they probably don’t like football and instead of finding them in the corner of a pub, you’re more than likely prone to find them milling around a library. In fact, their vibe isn’t too dissimilar to the Manic Street Preachers in comparison with say, Oasis and Blur back in the ‘90s. It's no coincidince that BSP and the Manics have toured together in the past.

After The Beta Band called it day, it was worrying as to who would carry the “modern day British guitar band” torch. BSP has always been one step ahead of your NME rock type bands (need I mention names?). They are hardly sole bearers, though. In a similar realm it would be disingenuous to leave Clinic out of the fold. They, too, have consistently rendered modest left of centre indie rock (in its truest sense) with aplomb. More on Clinic another time (sidenote, however: their new album drops in October).

BSP’s latest little “project” exemplifies the fact that – quite frankly – they’re awesome. It could even be regarded a neo-In The Fish Tank, of sorts. I’m talking about the six EPs they’ve produced in as many months at the front end of 2012. Each month, a new BSP EP. Simple, yeah? Coinciding with BSP’s you beaut idea was a six month residency at a club in Brighton, which they dubbed “Krankenhaus”; a night where the band knocked out the sets of the respective EPs. Work ethic personified, I say.
 As for the six EPs; sure, there’s some filler throughout. But on the flip side there’s also material that easily stacks up to their best work; you know, the subtle chord progressions that make your heart skip a beat; or the blissful octave changes that do their best to ruin you? (Yan and Hamilton have always oozed that particular quality). The BSP faithful will know what I’m talking about here. The band has always possessed an ability to produce these moments; that’s what makes them so great.
Standouts? BSP come into their own during the back end of the series, in my opinion. EPs Four and Five are probably my favourites, while Six may be a grower. ‘Facts Not Right’ and ‘Fingertips’ – both off tehe fourth – could easily have been standout tracks on ‘Valhalla Dancehall’. That’s not to say the latter was a write off; anything but. ‘Wishful Thinking’ – off the fifth – is the catchiest of all the songs BSP has delivered over this series of releases. ‘’Thinking’ is definite single material, should any of these songs appear on later releases (which I hope is not the case). This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as standouts go. Grab the six releases and make your own judgement.
In summary; it feels as if BSP continue to grow as a collective. This alone is a fascinating conclusion, considering the length of time they’ve been together, not to mention the declining status of most of their contemporaries.
In a climate where file sharing outweighs all, artists are continually forced to look outside the box in an effort to present their art. British Sea Power has succeeded this time around. In doing so, they’ve given us a nice little reminder; they’ve got plenty left in the creative tank. That in itself is welcoming news.
To check out this series visit British Sea Power's website here.
 By Simon K.