I've been listening off and on to the new Britsih Sea Power album that came out earlier this year ("Do You Like Rock Music?") and it consistently leaves me perplexed.
On the one hand, it's got a lot of great, very straight ahead, epicly rocking songs in that Arcade Fire sort of tradition (and as a quick aside, I've been REALLY into those guys lately. I think in retrospect I should have made Neon Bible my #1 last year). But since they're Brits, they also mix in some My Bloody Valentine sound, which is just fine by me.
But on the other hand, there's something very - I don't know - calculated about the sound. Part of what makes Arcade Fire so appealing (and, to some people, UNappealing) is their earnestness. I think if you're going to go all epic about the plight of our modern world you've got to at least sound like you believe it, man. British Sea Power have a lot of times where the songs are great songs, but you can almost feel them conciously trying to capture that kind of sound. That's not to say Arcade Fire don't put a lot into capturing that sound - but they make it sound natural, which is, to me, key.
So I'm torn. I like the songs, and think it could be one of the best albums of the year. But sometimes I feel like the influences are so powerful and so evident that it almost makes me wonder if there's really any point in even listening to this. I just recently got over listening exclusively to noise rock for a few months, and I think the derivative nature of albums like this partly drove me there.
This is getting pretty rambling, so I leave you with two questions and a song:
1) Anyone here have this album and have thoughts?
2) If a band is so clearly copying a sound, what's the use?
3) "Waving Flags":
I feel like I'm stacking the deck unfairly against them by including the most Arcade Fire-y song there, so here is "Atom" - undoubtedly the highlight from the album and a great straight ahead rocker: