British Sea Power

Let the Dancers Inherit the Party

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After scoring a documentary on the role of the ocean in English culture and consciousness (2013's From the Sea to the Land Beyond) and collaborating with a traditional U.K. brass band (2015's Sea of Brass), one could have been excused for thinking British Sea Power had gotten out of the business of playing rock & roll. But as part of their formula of periodic stylistic change, they've circled back around to their trademark variety of U.K. indie rock, and 2017's Let the Dancers Inherit the Party finds them in energetic and engaging form, delivering some of their most purely pleasurable work in years. The title is a fine and witty reflection of the album's balance of pop-infused rock and studied English cool, and most of the time this music finds British Sea Power sounding upbeat, but not so much so that they seem forced or pandering. On "Bad Bohemian," "Don't Let the Sun Get in the Way," and "What You're Doing," BSP's blend of post-punk and Brit-pop has a playful edge, with the guitars of Martin Noble and Yan Scott Wilkinson ringing out over the melodies, while the dance rhythms of "Keep on Trying (Sechs Freunde)" reveal the bandmembers' welcome sense of humor about their relative level of sexiness. British Sea Power learned a lot about the value of atmosphere while working on their more offbeat projects, and they've been able to incorporate that knowledge into numbers like "The Voice of Ivy Lee," "Praise for Whatever," and the spare but powerful closing piece, "Alone Piano," which spotlights the contributions of Abi Fry on viola and Phil Sumner on keyboards. Throughout Let the Dancers Inherit the Party, British Sea Power deliver music that's full of both passion and intelligence, with their cleverness actually powering the tunes instead of weighing them down. This album incorporates nearly all of the many facets that make British Sea Power memorable, and it's their strongest overall effort since Do You Like Rock Music? in 2008.

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