Well, Do You?
On their 2003 debut The Decline of British Sea Power, Brighton quartet British Sea Power arrived as an indie band with big, eclectic ideas. A check they would more than cash on that album. Subsequently, the band has streamlined their sound into an indie/arena rock hybrid. Something the hipster community would rather shun than risk attempting to answer is the question posed in the title of their latest effort, Do You Like Rock Music?. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s a valid question considering how ga-ga many get for dance music nowadays. Do You Like Rock Music? makes no bones about what it offers up with a charismatically epic feel to boot. The heavy-handed magnetism of cuts like “Waving Flags,” “No Lucifer,” “Atom” and “Lights Out for Darker Skies” welcomes listeners of all kinds into an arena-sized, indie-filtered blend of loud, chiming guitars and thunderous drums augmented by choirs and string arrangements. Even more enchanting is vocalist Yan’s ability to sing with the belief that the world is hanging in the balance. His delivery of “We’re all waving flags” on “Waving Flags” backed by a choir could inspire a band of misfits to a mythic level of pride and unity as they win the big game in a cheesy sports film.
Therein lies the album’s misfiring as well. Examining the lyrics of “Waving Flags” other than the chorus yields the mention of the Vistula, the longest river in Poland, a pub atmosphere and the Carpathian Mountains without really tying them together. “No Lucifer” opens with the line, “Hey you, give me the dummy tits / Forget the rest of the shit / The man with skull and bones / You think you know but you don’t.” Though itâ€šÃ„Ã´s packaged with bombastic, arena-sized hooks, the seeming lack of coherence remains unhidden.
Though the words and music clearly disconnect, one can’t help but be sucked in by the rallying cry intro of “All in It.” As Do You Like Rock Music? thrusts the listener through its world of arena/indie pomp, its escapist bliss can satiate those who just want a rock record. British Sea Power definitely got that right.