By British Sea Power
Since the minor cult success of their debut "The Decline of British Sea Power", BSP have been slogging taking their "club night" to every conceivable backwater, playing a gig in any student toilet that would have them and providing live soundtracks to old black & white movies. It would seem there is a hardly a stage in the country that does not have a leaf or twig left on it from one of their previous live forays. So it is with some surprise that such a work ethic should result in a rather indifferent follow up album. Better produced - yes, more radio friendly - possibly, imaginative - unquestionably, more musically inspired than the debut - sadly not.
There's nothing wrong with Open Season as such, it's pleasant sounding but it just never gets going. Gone are the frenzied sharp guitars of The Decline, instead supplanted with rolling acoustics, delay pedals, big reverbs and oh so many strings. References to Bowie, early Cure and Bossanova-era Pixies are all valid but don't reveal the whole story.
Standout tracks include opener "It Ended On An Oily Stage", the very pop "How Will I Ever Find My Way Home?" and "Please Stand Up". But the whisper, whisper, breathy vocals of lead singer Yan are at times best taken in small doses and something that was never apparent on the previous record. Still the band certainly can't be knocked for their content and what they're singing about we can only wonder. Collectively it still manages to conjure up a picture of a charming Britain-past.
For those new to the band, this may well be just the ticket: more laid back and dip in and out Indie. For those who loved The Decline for all its raw ambition and invention, then just prepare to shrug those shoulders... for now at least.