Decline Of British Sea Power



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    Decline Of British Sea Power Golden Chariot

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Review Text The first two songs on British Sea Power's remarkable 2003 debut The Decline of British Sea Power, "Men Together Today" and "Apologies to Insect Life," come crashing out of the gate with such a wealth of frantic, chaotic, over the top energy that it comes as something of a surprise when the album shifts into contemplative, more atmospheric form a few tracks down the line. While some bands are eager to create a distinct and lasting image of themselves on their first album, British Sea Power seemed determined to jump from one mood to another, confounding expectations before they had a chance to take root, and if The Decline of British Sea Power is an album possessed by multiple personalities, all of them are compelling and have fascinating stories to tell. "Remember Me" and "Favours in the Beetroot Fields" are dominated by Martin Noble's scrappy, all-over-the-road electric guitar and Scott Wilkinson's breathless vocals, but "Something Wicked" shifts gears into a bigger, grander sound that lives up to the majestic tone of the band's name, and "The Lonely" and "Carrion" are brilliantly crafted, cinematic pop constructed on the grand scale and full of resonant emotions. And the penultimate track, "Lately," is a 14-minute epic that sails from evocative beauty past a valley of noise and havoc into a final squall of madness, in many ways an ideal summation of British Sea Power's strategy on this album. But for a first public gesture, The Decline of British Sea Power is tremendously powerful, and the band is more than up to the challenge of its vast creative ambitions; Scott Wilkinson is a singer of no small talent and range (and his lyrics are clever and often blazingly eccentric in the great British tradition), his brother Neil Hamilton Wilkinson and Martin Noble are multi-instrumentalists with both the skills and the vision to conjure this album's vast sonic palette, and drummer Matthew Wood is strong enough to hold the many pieces firmly in place. The Decline of British Sea Power is a wild musical ride that never stops delivering surprises and rare pleasures, and it was a fittingly remarkable debut from what would become one of the most interesting U.K. acts of their day. ~ Mark Deming

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