Man of Aran, a 1934 docu-drama that chronicled the difficult daily lives of the inhabitants of Western Ireland's remote Aran Islands, boasts all of the elements (wind, water, sky, and barren landscapes) that make a successful British Sea Power song, so it's no revelation that the band's soundtrack for the film fits like a pair of weather-beaten oars in a pair of equally ancient hands. The direct antithesis of 2008's stadium ready Do You Like Rock Music?, the largely instrumental Man of Aran (only the folksy "Come Wander with Me," a cover culled from an obscure 1964 Twilight Zone episode, features vocals) unfolds like a wave in the middle of the ocean with its sights set on a rocky shore. With the main melody of Rock Music's "The Great Skua" as its backbone, British Sea Power's penchant for slow-building post-rock vistas and reverb-drenched bursts of guitar, trumpet, and violin has reached its logical crescendo. While not as awe-inspiring as it yearns to be, Man of Aran deftly fuses the imagery of the open water to the sound it makes when dripping out of a vintage tube amplifier. On its own, listeners may be lulled to the chilly deeps of sleep, but paired with the accompanying DVD, they'll be wiping the salt spray from their brows and pulling long rows of kelp out of their teeth.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2