Album Review: British Sea Power – Let the Dancers Inherit The Party

The iconic British Sea Power are back after a four year hiatus with one of their best albums since my personal favourite “Open Season” (released way back in 2005). “Let The Dancers Inherit The Party” is the same BSP as before but with added melodic bounce, the same amount of fresh, almost childish, optimism mixed in a contrary way with an increasing world weary delivery. Witness fourth track “What You’re Doing” with its longing and regret about the complexity of relationships – “I don’t know what I’m doing to you, you don’t know what you’re doing to me”.

Cinematic orchestration has always been the hallmark of BSP and they paint a wild and natural canvass infused with science, philosophy and a pop sensibility that bookmarks their intellectual rigour. First single, “Bad Bohemian” was accompanied by a video that was influenced by Dadaism – see my earlier review. The video to the follow-up single, “Sechs Freunde (Keep on Trying)” continues this theme:

Sechs Freunde is a German variation of six degrees of separation – an oblique reference to the six members of the band. The song itself is a bouncy, shouty and joyous song.

References to the natural world and days of yore abound, as is usual with BSP: witness the celestial musings of “International Space Station” and nostalgia for radio of “Electrical Kittens”. The brightness and anthemic qualities of the songs do not reflect any element of vacuity whatsoever – there is a biting satire that underpins the shimmering layered notes. See, for example, “Don’t Let the Sun Get in The way” with its reference to this post-truth world of alternative facts:

we’ll substitute the truth today, we’ll watch the pilgrims on the way, slack jawed and empty eyed and free…yeah right

The final tack, “Alone Piano”, is simply a beautiful, elegaic coda to the dance party of the preceding tracks: think of Sigur Ros mixed with a touch of James and a bucket full of melancholic tears. This is truly a magnificent album – clearly born from the worlds of Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure but raised with a unique quality that makes BSP one of the most innovative and distinctive bands in the UK at the moment.

The album is out now digitally, with CD and vinyl available from 28 April through Golden Chariot (via Caroline International).

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