Open Seasonby British Sea Power
With a proclivity for wearing WWI military fatigues, dressing their live stage with shrubbery and stuffed birds, and singing lyrics about fjords, fields, and the rest of nature's spoils, British Sea Power could probably get jobs with the National Geographic Society if they ever tire of music. Let's hope they don't, because this five-piece is capable of some of the most grand, stirring rock music being made today. Musically, their impressive 2003 debut, The Decline of British Sea Power, was a split personality affair, equally divided between frenzied, Pixies-ish noise and gorgeous guitar anthems. For Open Season, the band have chosen the latter, and while those manic bursts of energy are missed, this is an album of such sweep and grandeur that it hardly matters. Album opener "It Ended on an Oily Stage" typifies Open Season: big guitars and bigger, swaying choruses designed to rouse you to your feet. This goes double for the album's standout track, "Please Stand Up" -- possibly the band's best song to date -- which shows off their growing skills as songwriters and musicians (drummer Wood, in particular, is one of the most facile, understated players around). Elsewhere you get odes to icebergs ("Oh Larsen B"), the importance of 40 winks ("Get to Sleep"), and more frozen wonders (the countrified "Victorian Ice"). It may help to have an appreciation of the Great Outdoors, but Open Season has a natural beauty all its own.
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