British Sea Power evoke the year 1984 on an eternal loop on their new album Let The Dancers Inherit The Party in their usual political light and they’ve created this album as their answer to Brexit for what they aim to be a shining beacon in the perceived darkness.
Fourteen years since the band first formed up north in Kendall (having since settled down in Brighton), there’s still no band that sounds quite like this bombastic sextet. British Sea Power records are invitations to unplug and bask in the beauty of nature, learn useful random phrases from foreign languages, and educate yourself on forgotten events resigned to history’s dustbin, prompting you to go online to brush up on topics like the significance of the German term “stunde null,” or investigate what exactly happened on Canvey Island in 1953. Combine this with their occasional cheeky foray into film soundtracks and orchestral pomp (the ripples of which can still be felt in several of these tracks) and you have a band that remains oddly timeless and impervious to age. This time around, the band did utilise crowdfunding to finance the album’s production and release, so they aren’t entirely stuck in the 80s!
Despite the escapist leanings of their music, which many will find welcome during these times of socio-political upheaval, Let The Dancers Inherit The Party sees the group indulge in involvement in the topicality that they’re ironically trying to move away from. A prime example of this indulgence is in the “The Voice of Ivy Lee”. The breezy, synth-sparkled song name-checks a pioneer in the field of public relations and corporate spin to make a thinly veiled comment on Brexit-induced discord and bloodshed. “Kings of propaganda” vocalist Jan Scott Williams pleads, “won’t you take another look at all the things you’ve done?.” Political commentaries aside, this album still highlights British Sea Power’s most positive and uplifting qualities, showcased best in the album’s motivational anthem; “Keep on Trying (Sechs Freund)”. A reassuring group hug of a song that one can only assume is a statement of solidarity for the band, “Sechs Freund” translates to Six Friends in German – despite Williams’ enthusiastically milking its similarity to the word “sex” – and shows that the current sextet of the band seem to have no plans to waver in devotion to their art.
In keeping with the dreamy positive vibes of the album as whole, tracks such as “Electrical Kittens” and “International Space Station” feel like the band fully intended to put the grandeur of a full orchestra into them (this would not be the first time) but instead opted for a stripped back, yet stargazing sense of scope in the songs. The husky vocals meld with well engineered keyboards and shimmering indie guitars to create the truest sense of escapism for the band. As if to stabilize its weighty subject matter, Let the Dancers Inherit the Party is a remarkably steady album, at times to a fault. “You said the world was losing all its lustre,” Williams laments on the opening “Bad Bohemian”, after which the group spends the next 47 minutes attempting to restore the world’s shine with gleaming starlit-surfaces, synth smears, and pulse-regulating mid-tempo motion. As such, the usual dramatic come-down tracks that the band are so capable of supplying are far more tame than in previous efforts. The main song that you’ll find on the album would be “Alone Piano”, aptly named for the song’s key instrument, with Abi Fry’s trembling viola reverie accompanying to make for one of the most emotive and intimate tracks heard on the album.
Overall the album feels a little steady in comparison to some of their more envelope-pushing work and indeed, some of their more intense live stage work. But it remains an understated show of force from a very talented band.
Author: Steve, Southgate store