British Sea Power

Do You Like Rock Music?

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On 2005's Open Season, British Sea Power traded in some of the chilly post-rock angst that fueled their 2003 debut with a more streamlined, radio-ready approach that left some listeners yearning for the lo-fi majesty of songs like "Carrion" and "Fear of Drowning." Those tunes were still there, but they demanded repeated spins before revealing their fruits, a tactic that the stoic Cumbria, England, quartet employs again -- but with far more breathtaking results -- on its third full-length, Do You Like Rock Music? Tapping the collective talents of three producers -- Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire), Graham Sutton (Jarvis Cocker), and Efrim Menuck (Godspeed You Black Emperor!) -- in numerous locations (Canada, Cornwall, and the Czech Republic, respectively), DYLRM should be a mess, but the band has crafted a wintry, nuanced, and bold collection of epic songs that integrate the sweeping theatricality of Arcade Fire-era indie rock without all of the insularity. This is music made for people, not a person. The sound effects, choral vocals, strings, and feedback that populate DYLRM feel organic and necessary rather than just pasted in for drama's sake. There has always been a sort of rough-hewn sepia-tone unity to BSP songs, and that odd, inclusive wartime fervor permeates each track, from the rousing immigration anthem "Waving Flags" to the rallying, Blur-inspired "No Lucifer" to the sister tracks "All in It" and "Close Our Eyes" that serve as the record's bookends. Even the more meandering pieces like "Atom" and the instrumental "Great Skua" feel like steampunk soundtracks for polar exploration, a notion that looks weird in print but makes a whole lot of sense through a pair of headphones, a set of vintage basement speakers, or the inside of a freighter as it disappears into the bowels of the Arctic Ocean.

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