One of the more fascinating pastimes to pursue when hearing a new record, or especially a new record by a new band, is to track the influences. I’m doing so on my first hearing of “The Decline Of British Sea Power” by British Sea Power. Curiously, the one dominant influence is one I would have not expected – Midnight Oil. There is a lot of the grandeur of that band in British Sea Power’s songs, particularly in the broad melodies and supportive arrangements. But there is a lot more – The Clash, Pere Ubu, Echo & The Bunnymen, Oasis, David Bowie. Impressively, even on this debut, British Sea Power have created a sustainable synthesis that is individual and fresh.
“The past, it is a foreign country” is a quote from “Lately”, and in a curious synchronic moment earlier today I was investigating the book and movie “The Go-Between”, from which that lyric is paraphrased. I relish these tie-ins.
This is a strong record and one I would recommend without hesitation. It gives me a thrill to hear it, and on first hearing that is the prime measure of artistic excellence.