PRINT November 2015


British Sea Power

British Sea Power (Scott Wilkinson, Phil Sumner, Neil Wilkinson, Matthew Wood, Abi Fry, and Martin Noble) performing with the Redbridge Brass Band, Barbican Centre, London, January 24, 2015. Photo: Phil Bourne/Redferns/Getty Images.

SEA OF BRASS, the album by British Sea Power released this month, is a collection of songs spanning the band’s entire discography, which they have rescored (with the help of collaborator Peter Wraight) to include a full brass band. This arch, antiquarian, massive record stands as a summa of the group’s decade-plus career churning out complex indie tracks that have always begged to be described as “pompier.” Its rewards are disclosed gradually, on repeated listening, and the album is something of a valedictory for the particular brand of rock music that the band have championed from the outset.

Although BSP have garnered a loyal following in the UK, they are less well known on these shores. This is perplexing because—to declare my sympathies unambiguously—they are a great band, the beneficiaries of an explicitly British, art-influenced rock ’n’ roll heritage that moved

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