British Sea Power – Valhalla Dancehall

27 Jan

British Sea Power

British Sea Power have always made me think of beige cable-knit cardigans. I’ve never been particularly tempted to sample their wares, despite the almost universal acclaim.

Even good reviews for fifth album Valhalla Dancefloor were not enough. The fear of turgid and pretentious indie rock was strong. Thankfully, the latest I Prefer Their Old Stuff podcast set me straight.

It features album opener Who’s In Control – a song as infectious as swine flu and twice as dangerous. I constantly find myself singing the chorus – out loud, on the streets of London. I know.

I love the drumming, it really controls the ebb and flow of the song and gives it such urgency. The hooky and melodic guitar is not the star here but works perfectly in context.

Echoey, distorted samples of a male scream that sound like a strangled sea-gull knock the track engagingly off kilter.

But it’s the masterful vocal performance that steals the show. Yan veers from gentle and mannered to anxious and desperate with brief moments of near-frenzy.

Lyrical gems include: “I’m a big fan of the local library but that’s another story” and “sometimes I wish protesting was sexy on a Saturday night”.

The rest of the album is taking longer to sink in but its opener is worth the admission price alone.

3 Responses to “British Sea Power – Valhalla Dancehall”

  1. Rich January 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    Excellent! Glad to see I’ve influenced someone! I need to give it some more listens myself actually, I’ve been spending my time obsessed with Agalloch and consuming the Amplifier double album!

    If you haven’t already I’d advise seeking out their back catalogue, predictably their first album, The Decline of British Sea Power is my favourite!

    • Kuz January 27, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

      I really like Agalloch’s last one, Ashes Against The Grain. I’ve given the new one a few spins but haven’t quite clicked with it yet even though it’s not hard to see why it’s caused such as stir. You need to be in the right mood to really appreciate Agalloch and their ilk, I think.


  1. Dishammer – Vintage Addiction « Monkey Defies Gravity - January 30, 2011

    […] you have wandered here from my British Sea Power post, I’ll let you off if you didn’t twig the blatant Discharge and Hellhammer […]

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