Wednesday, June 5, 2013

the decline of british sea power

British Sea Power found expression for their literary militant pastoralism with the claustrophobic post punk revivalism of this self appointed classic.  The group started with brothers Jan Scott Wilkinson and Neil Hamilton Wilkinson and their schoolchum Matthew Wood in Natland, near Kendal in Cumbria.  Yan moved to study at the University of Reading, where he met Martin Noble, who was from Manchester.  Hamilton and Wood joined them in Reading and they started as British Air Powers, releasing a four track demo before relocating to Brighton and changing their name to British Sea Power.  They built a local following and caught the attention of Geoff Travis, who signed them to Rough Trade Records.  

Noble considers the origin of the band's name:   "Well, it's one from the history books - like The Age Of Steam or The Enlightenment or The Disco Years. We liked the idea of naming ourselves after 400 years of history, after the period when Britannia ruled the waves. Not that we're saying this was necessarily a great idea - it's a pretty mixed idea. If you're going to think up a name for your band it might as well be a good one. The Fall or Teenage Fanclub or Franz Ferdinand are great names, while Red Hot Chili Pepper or INXS are bad beyond belief. British Sea Power is also quite rock in a way - like when all the dandy suited sailors turn up on shore and go looking for pretty locals. Don't you think them lusty boyz in The Bravery look just like sailors on shore leave? There they are, high on scurvy and gonorrhoea and looking for the best thrill in town."

'The Decline of British Sea Power' was recorded by Mads Bjerke and British Sea Power at 2 kHz; with the exception of 'Carrion' which was recorded at Golden Chariot Studios, Roundhouse, and 2 kHz and, with Marc Beatty, at Mockingbird Studio.  The sessions featured Yan (Scott Wilkinson) on vocals, guitar, piano, and organ; Hamilton (Neil Hamilton Wilkinson) on vocals, bass, guitar, piano, organ, and backing vocals; Noble (Martin Noble) on guitar, piano, backing vocals, and organ; and Wood (Matthew Wood) on drums; with D. Sharp on french horn; M. J. Noble on extra backing vocals; and V. Oag providing the recording of the sea.  

'The Decline of British Sea Power' only charted at number fifty-four in the UK; but it managed to sell over sixty thousand copies in the years since its release.  Noble says:    "We've been doing everything ourselves, gradually learning... the production side, doing the covers. We did all the videos up to Remember Me. It can take a little more time than with people who get things done for you."

"Something Wicked" (Hamilton)

"Remember Me" (Yan)

"Fear of Drowning" (Yan)

"The Lonely" (Yan)

"A Wooden Horse" (Yan)

"Childhood Memories" (Yan)

"Heavenly Waters" (Hamilton)

'The Decline of British Sea Power' 


"Men Together Today" – 0:41
"Apologies to Insect Life" (Hamilton/Noble/Wood/Yan) – 2:47
"Favours in the Beetroot Fields" (Yan) – 1:16
"Something Wicked" (Hamilton) – 3:12
"Remember Me" (Yan) – 3:10
"Fear of Drowning" (Yan) – 4:26
"The Lonely" (Yan) – 5:12
"Carrion" (Hamilton/Noble/Wood/Yan) – 4:06
"Blackout" (Hamilton) – 3:48
"Lately" (Yan) – 13:58
"A Wooden Horse" (Yan) – 4:37
bonus tracks
"Heavenly Waters" (Hamilton) – 6:35
"Childhood Memories" (Yan) – 3:36

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