British Sea Power: From the Sea to the Land Beyond
British Sea Power is one of those post-punk English bands that emerged at the turn of the millennium with a shouting, stampeding, undeniably catchy sound. Their usual offerings are well-suited to fans of bands like Arcade Fire and Bloc Party. However, From the Sea to the Land Beyond demonstrates the band’s flexibility by moving into new territory: a film soundtrack.
From the Sea to the Land Beyond is a documentary about the British coast and is comprised of archival footage spanning 100 years. Such a range of locations and eras requires a delicate touch, musically. Fortunately, an eccentric band like British Sea Power, with their wildly appropriate name and their propensity to play in coastal locations, manages to be the perfect choice. This soundtrack is like listening to a Mogwai record, with the instruments managing to convey just as much as lyrics ever could.
The soundtrack is divided into chapters, rather than giving the tracks names, and so much the better. This is an offering to be taken as a whole rather than chopped up into parts. As the work moves on, it seems to have waves like the ocean. Loudness flows in, but soon it subsides with the tide again. Guitars, piano, and strings all have an opportunity to take center stage, and when vocals do make a rare appearance, they are restrained enough that you can tell that the band wanted to complement the visuals of the film rather than overwhelm. This soundtrack is a beautiful little record and something perfect to listen to while traveling, especially along the coast.