Album Review: Sea Power – Everything Was Forever

Well it sounds to me upon first listen that they haven’t just changed their name with this new release, but in many cases they have added more strings to their bow. This is the first album release since the band decided to drop the British aspect from their moniker, in light of post Brexit nationalism and it’sĀ  frankly racist associations. A move I totally understand and endorse (I might still file it under B in my collection though!).

They always displayed a varied and eclectic influence in their ouvre (egg – respects to Ian Penman there), from the Germanic motorik beats to post punk/new wave experimentalism to gentle pastoral dronescapes, and they aren’t averse to a good old footstomping barnstorming slice of stadium rock (almost). All of the above are still to be found in their rebadged output, but they’ve also added shoegaze to their canon, a smart move given that it’s reet trendy amongst the yoof right now. “Scaring At The Sky” opens the album with a whisper, sounding authentically early 90’s, with a weak adenoidal vocal gently wafting through fields of echo like so much washing flapping in a light breeze, like an opiate dream of a detergent advert! A splashy snare motorik beat introduces “Transmitter” with one of those glorious yet simple hooks that they do so well, while Yan decries ‘what have you done my dear’ over the barricades like a reproachful lover, and it’s quite simply sublime. And if that beat worked for “Transmitter” (and previous classics like “No Lucifer” from Do You Like Rock Music) then why not carry on with “Two Fingers” following the same wonderful trajectory of glory. To be fair they are all pretty much the same song, but hey that never stopped The Ramones and AC/DC and a plethora of other bands ploughing a familiar furrow, and if it works this well then why not. It’s what makes them so good live, and as I have already said, it’s not all they do, having done ambient soundtracks and brass band arrangements, and who can forget their collaboration with The Wurzels!

‘It feels like black magic’ Yan says and I have to say there always seems to be an element of alchemy about them, seemingly conjuring world moving emotions with a bit of wire and a roll of sticky tape! “Two Fingers” has the most negative/positive anthemic chorus I’ve ever heard ‘Two fingers for the dead/Two fingers for the living/Two fingers for the world that we all live in’, the connotation of two fingers being either a fuck you, or a toast…a celebration (two fingers being a shot of whiskey).

They get ever so delicate on the drum machine led “Fire Escape In The Sky”, and the eerie building disquiet of “Fear Eats The Soul”, whereas “Doppelganger”, with its great slabs of echo guitar drone moving over a racing and insistent bass guitar, like black clouds chasing an exodus into a stormy sea, with Yan screaming ‘into the grey’ over and over.

“Folly” has an electro disco feel, perhaps stemming from their 2019 Disco Elysium soundtrack album. It’s not unlike New Order meets Arcade Fire, with whispered vocals over a solid beat, and insistent strident strings. Elsewhere “Lakeland Echo” returns us back to the shoegaze washes of My Bloody Valentine, “Green Goddess” soars into the skies like an albatross and rides the thermals of sound like only Sea Power seem to be able to do, and “We Only Want To Make You Happy”, which grows from its rain sodden start and builds into a glorious dramatic landscape like an old master.

Glorious…majestic…sublime. I’m so happy. British Sea Power is dead – long live Sea Power

Everything Was Forever is out on 18th February, pre-order here

Find out more on their official website

Review by Andrew Wood

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