British Sea Power: Valhalla Dancehall

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

How does the band follow up their previous album, a revamped score to the 1934 documentary The Man From Aran? By getting back to grandiose guitars and dense lyrics, a formula that made the band's 2003 debut The Decline of British Sea Power such an intriguingly different album. The band has now claimed, however sarcastically, Serge Gainsbourg and Ralf and Florian era Kraftwerk as influences for their latest album, adding another intriguing angle to an already pretty out-there band.

What the critics are saying:

Consequence of Sound: British Sea Power has reach-for-the-stars ambitions and their sweeping anthems sometimes grab a hold of greatness.Valhalla Dancehall is more of the same from British Sea Power, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but the band has done most of it before in a more memorable fashion.

Contact Music: Valhalla Dancehall doesn't break any new ground for the group. Their claim that it sounds like 'a mixture of Serge Gainsbourg and Ralf and Florian era Kraftwerk with a sprinkle of Stock, Aitken and Waterman' is presumably tongue-in-cheek, because the album sounds nothing like any of those figures.

The Skinny: Yan's vocals are siphoned through a vocoder on standout track Mongk II, whilst the glitch-pop of Living Is So Easy is an impressive, successful departure. But too often (the shouty Who's In Control and M.O.R. Observe The Skies) BSP are content to play it simple, resulting in the first real disappointment of their careers.

BBC Music: It's the band's dense, oblique lyricism that's generally prevented their oft-anthemic guitar rock seeming regressive, but on tracks like Who's in Control?, Georgie Ray and Living is So Easy the band warp the music to match the words; stormy, elastic squalls of incandescent sound that lack the hooky polish of the band's early material, yet seethe and churn with greater force.

Valhalla Dancehall is out 1/11 via Rough Trade.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.