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My mate has a funny story about being kicked out of one of British Sea Power's mum's conservatory for skinning up a joint at a party. He now thinks they're a total joke and is confident they can't be any good even though I assure him they're one of the most popular UK indie bands today and have been for years. I reckon they've stuck to a pretty distinctive template over the years but I'm darned if I can really recall any of their songs, bar a brief snippet of one of their early singles perhaps having burrowed its way into my skull on one occasion? I can see why they're popular. They do that whole epic rock thing with a bit of a Britpop swagger that sort of bridges the divide between, say, Sigur Ros and Pulp. Strings are employed on occasion and with restraint. Songs gallop along with the charge of an electronic undercurrent flickering throughout. They definitely have something dramatic and engaging about them but it's all lost in the over-familiar bluster for me. Same problem I have with almost all these bands when they're on their 4th/5th album. They've become consummate musicians but have lost that effortless hookwriting knack. This means that the songs are sounding busy but seem devoid of any real spark. They all just flow into some head-noddy, foot-tappy river of aural slurry for me. I cannot remember what I'm listening to half the time. As far as well played and brightly produced arena indie rock goes, this album is fine. I just can't help feeling a bit underwhelmed? Maybe this is their best yet and I haven't "got it" yet? We've already sold out of the limited 2xCD set on PRE ORDER so please don't hassle us about it if you missed out. I'm afraid it's out of our hands!!
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