British Sea Power

From the Sea to the Land Beyond

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AllMusic Review by

If you were going to make a film about the relationship between the ocean and British culture, choosing the band British Sea Power to do the soundtrack might seem a little too on the nose for some folks, but it turns out director Penny Woolcock knew just what she was doing. British Sea Power's score for Woolcock's From the Sea to the Land Beyond isn't the first time they've written music for film -- in 2009, they wrote and recorded a new score for Robert J. Flaherty's classic (staged) documentary Man of Aran -- and as before, the group reveals a rare gift for building atmosphere and emotional intrigue with its music. While the usual guitars and keyboards play their role in the score, From the Sea to the Land Beyond is frequently punctuated with minimal but effective string and horn arrangements (Abi Fry's viola is used to splendid effect), and drummer Matthew Wood is a standout, his bold rhythms interacting beautifully with the frequently stark surfaces of the music. A few of the tracks feature vocals, but most do not, and the instrumentals are eloquent enough to communicate without words, conjuring powerful images of the beauty and forbidding power of the ocean that at once sustains and threatens the people who live near its shore. Dotted with intelligently applied sound effects and bits of newsreel narration, From the Sea to the Land Beyond often recalls Rachel's' post-rock masterpiece The Sea and the Bells in its evocative impact and thoughtful embrace of elements outside the palette of most rock bands; this isn't rock & roll, but what it is is something very special, and this is the rare film soundtrack that works nearly as well on its own as it does accompanying another artist's images.

Track Listing - Disc 3

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
blue highlight denotes track pick