Lee’s Listening Stack: British Sea Power ‘Valhalla Dancehall’
British Sea Power
After four albums, there’s some reason to contend that British Sea Power has become a band whose ambitions outstrip their abilities. With a sweeping sound that oftentimes brings to mind U2, Coldplay and the like, they specialize in heaven-gazing anthems and grand, overarched designs that focus on rallying the masses and assuring stadium size attendance. The concept behind Valhalla Dancehall seems intent on fulfilling those prospects, an attempt at world music revelry that claims to accommodate specialty niches as diverse as Norse folklore and Jamaican disco, although in truth the music doesn’t necessarily deliver on the title’s promises. Still, that doesn’t mute their enthusiasm. The one-two punch of opening tracks “Who’s In Control” and “We Are Sound” provides the initial onslaught of bombast, a twin call to arms that ups the energy level right at the outset.
That rumble of deliberation and exhilaration persists throughout the album – in the dramatic ascent of what originates as a stately piano ballad, “Georgie Ray” and continues through the kinetic frequencies of “Mongk II” and “Thin Black Sail,” only to culminate in the measured pace of “Heavy Water.” The songs are accentuated by a kind of cross-eyed croon, embodied by Scott Wilkinson’s desperate howl and the band’s pulsating, atmospheric arrangements, making the whole extravaganza appear larger than life. Valhalla Dancehall may not be a game-changer, but at very least it affirms their authority. – Lee Zimmerman
Lee Zimmerman is a contributor to a variety of publications, including Blurt, M Music & Musicians, New Times, Goldmine and Amplifier
This review appears courtesy of Amplifier, 50,000 Watts of Non-Stop Indie Rock http://amplifiermagazine.blogspot.com/