It’s been more than three years since we last heard from the magnificent British Sea Power and the wait is over: they have announced a new album entitled “Let the Dancers Inherit the Party” due for release on 31 March 2017 and, in anticipation, they have released a new song with video called “Bad Bohemian”.
There is something quintessentially English about BSP – I always think their songs would a perfect accompaniment to an Arthur Ransome novel mixed with a Biggles adventure but without any of the stuffy conservatism assciated with either. They seem part of another world – an early 20th century era of creaking sailboats, pastoral motifs and stoicism, leavened with an eccentricity and world-weary intellectualism.
This refreshing uniqueness translates into their famed live shows and eccentric choice of venues.
“Bad Bohemian” indicates nothing has changed in this.
Opening with an atypical reflective tone, the song launches into the welcome bouncy, driving and bright BSP sound with Yan Wilkinson’s distinctive vocals and evocative yet opaque lyrics. Anthemic, melancholy and haunting, this is classic BSP. The video is typically eccentric BSP – best summed up with a direct quote from Yan:
I wanted the video to capture the feeling in between the real world and the virtual world; the way you can go from watching an entertaining Korean performer working with imaginary objects to live footage of war torn countries then sink into a world of cute animals before trying and digest global politics, all within a few clicks. I was inspired by artists like Kurt Schwitters, a ‘degenerate’ artist forced to flee Nazi Germany. He used everyday objects such as bus tickets in his famed collages. Today kitten videos are our everyday objects. Adding a video of a kitten is my way of paying homage to Schwitters – I was inspired by the idea that an everyday thing is capable of expressing something deeper whilst still being an everyday thing. I think the song has more going on below the surface than is at first obvious.
This Sea is not shallow.
Pre-orders of the album get you a download of the single here.
If you are not familiar with BSP’s oeuvre, I strongly recommend as an introduction you listen to their first couple of albums, which to my mind are classics – “The Decline of British Sea Power” and “Open Season”.
British Sea Power is based in Brighton, UK; the band members live in Sussex, Kendal and on the Isle Of Skye. The band is Yan Wilkinson (vocals / guitars), Neil Hamilton Wilkinson (vocals / guitars), Martin Noble (guitars), Matthew Wood (drums), Abi Fry (viola), Phil Sumner (keyboards / cornet). They have the distinction of being the longest continuing band signed to Rough Trade Records.