Tuesday, 1 February 2011

REVIEW: British Sea Power - 'Valhalla Dancehall'

After seeing this group live supporting the Manics and hearing last year's mini album 'Zeus', this was an album I was quite looking forward too. But having not heard any of their previous efforts (and there have been a fair few) listening to 'Valhalla Dancehall' doesn't urge me to seek out their previous work in the same way that for example the new Decemberists LP does. 'Valhalla Dancehall' does have some great moments though, the opening track 'Who's In Control' is pretty damn good, as are 'Observe The Skies' and 'Stande Null' with it's rather thrilling guitar sounds. 'Living Is So Easy' was definitely the best choice for lead single, while 'Cleaning Out The Rooms' is the album's centrepiece, a 7 minute epic with dreamy guitar soundscapes and perfect for relaxation.

But the album is flawed by various weaknesses, such as the tempo and the mood barely rising at all, and when it does on 'Thin Black Sail', the results sound rather uninspired. 'Baby' starts out like it could be promising and for a while is very pretty, but after a while it starts to drag, while 'Mongk II', 'We Are Sound', 'Georgie Ray', 'Heavy Water' and 'Luna' just aren't memorable songs, even after repeated listens in my attempts to make this album grow on me. So not a bad album, just one padded out with boring filler tracks. Maybe they should have replaced those bits with the best of last year's 'Zeus' mini LP (including the great title track) and perhaps we'd be looking at an album that scores more than 6/10

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