Valhalla Dancehall Valhalla Dancehall


British Sea Power British Sea PowerValhalla Dancehall

7 / 10


The greatest fiasco of British Sea Power’s records turns on the false belief that they were born to fill stadiums, put out soundtracks for an entire generation, and to be recognised as the kind of rock stars who will always have a faithful regiments of fans who think they’re the best thing since sliced bread whatever they do, even during their moments of creative drought. Every time they put out an album, they long for the media reception of groups like U2, Kings Of Leon or Arcade Fire, these three being the only ones that they can be compared to in terms of sound, given the escapist epics that they displayed prior to the release of “The Suburbs”. But even though they have tried several times, BSP have always ended up having to drop out of the race and head for home with snot running from their noses to reflect in private; without the aid of doping, they have never managed to make off with a trophy. Two years ago, with “Do You Like Rock Music?”, they dared to dive in headfirst, lay all their cards on the table, not fooling anybody, and to proclaim their intentions for all the world to hear. Now or never, they must have thought about their success. But not even this way did they achieve their goal, probably because even though they are the typical students who sit in the last row and know their lessons by heart, when exam time rolls around, they screw up and don’t manage to achieve results that set them apart from the rest of their classmates.

After putting music to the documentary “Man of Aran”, in October the band offered an advance of “Valhalla Dancehall” on the EP “Zeus”, on which one could catch a glimmer of a slight evolution in their sound, with the introduction of the occasional electronic element in the form of a synthesiser, leading us to augur the coming of something new from this group from Brighton. If we add to this that on the album’s promotional sheet they announced that the greatest influences on these thirteen songs were going to be Serge Gainsbourg and Ralf & Florian (Kraftwerk), seasoned with a little Stock, Aitken & Waterman, the expectation was palpable. On paper all of this looked neater than neat, but in practice, so much tooting their own horn has turned out to be an awkward fallacy. It’s true that in “Living Is So Easy” and in “Stunde Null” –a song dedicated to the German people after the end of World War II– a synthesiser has been included as decorative ornamentation. But nevertheless, the rest of the album delights in the same formula that they’ve been showing us all these years.

The latter shouldn’t be taken as an offence, not at all. British Sea Power do their work fluently, although with uneven results—as a whole, there is always something dispensable, although less each time—and they have a well-oiled live show that many others wish they had. The big catch is that instead of daring to take a step forward, they stand their ground, continuing to refer to their own previous works. “We Are Sound” is the stepsister of “Down on the Ground”, “Observe the Skies” is coupled with “Lights out for Darker Skies” and “Thin Black Sail” takes us back to their debut “The Decline of British Sea Power”, when they wanted to be the Pixies. At this stage of the game, with almost a decade behind them, it is our obligation to demand that they give the best of themselves.

Even so, there are moments like “Who’s in Control”, textbook political populism whose proclamations still manage to get our arms up in the air –something of the Manic Street Preachers, who they were opening for recently, has rubbed off on them. The same can be said of “Mongk II”, the second part of the song loved for the vocoder on “Zeus”, or their wonderful trademark ambient lament, “Cleaning out the Rooms”, which already appeared on the aforementioned EP; however, the same can’t be said for “Once More Now”, lengthened unnecessarily to eleven minutes. All of this aside, the album is missing a song like “No Lucifer” or “Waving Flags” to make us eat our words. And so I stand my ground: the best of British Sea is still to come; it all boils down to an urgent exercise in machinery and polishing from here on out. They still won’t be conquering the stadiums with “Valhalla Dancehall”, although their audience, faced with so few surprises, may be satisfied.

Sergio del Amo

{youtube width="100%" height=273"}-lrofDd03BU{/youtube}

¿Te ha gustado este contenido?...

Hoy en PlayGround Video