British Sea Power: Machineries of Joy

british sea powerBritish Sea Power
Machineries of Joy
(Rough Trade Records)

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“We are magnificent machineries of joy.” With this Ray Bradbury reference, British Sea Power begins their sixth proper LP. A decade since they first stormed onto the scene with The Decline of British Sea Power, the group has circled back to the intensity and beauty that allowed them to be one of the few bands to survive and flourish from the English indie scene of the early 2000s.

Fresh from providing the soundtrack to From the Sea to the Land Beyond, the band seems to have brought some of that atmosphere to their latest release. The subtle horns and breathy vocals on “Radio Goddard” are certainly reminiscent of a coastal landscape and bring to mind shades of Belle and Sebastian. Likewise, “When a Warm Wind Blows Through the Grass” features hypnotic guitar and vivid imagery like the title itself and “your nerves sting sharp as a knife.”

But for all the calculated beauty, there’s also just the right amount of bombast. “K Hole” is a punk affair right out of the gates, while “Loving Animals” channels a bit of Placebo with lilting falsetto and dark lyrics like, “I want you to know that it’s wrong, man.” “Monsters of Sunderland” balances big guitar riffs with shades of funk, showing off the band’s post-punk roots.

The lyrics on Machineries of Joy do get esoteric at times, but thank God there’s a band around that’s not afraid to show off a bit of intelligence with its rock. British Sea Power are slightly odd, definitely talented, and certainly on-point with this release.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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