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The new British Sea Power album

Discussions about the new generations of bands influenced by '80s New Wave and Postpunk

The new British Sea Power album

Postby Frau_Blucher » Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:44 pm

Because no one remotely asked for it...

There's been a lot of positive comments about this album from avid fans and avid critics who are closet BSP fans - "at ease with themselves", "haunting", a "journey", etc. I've personally had a hell of a time getting my head wrapped around Machineries of Joy. It most certainly does not bear listening to intently in front of a computer. I tried that three times, and that only led to a furtive but deep worry about the album. I've now had a full and proper fourth listen...properly done on good headphones while walking in the woods. It's helped a lot.

Structurally, there's similarity with Open Season, their most melodic album, but I think the similarities end there. It's thematically very different, not just from OS but from Decline through Do You Like Rock Music. While those seemed often metaphorical and celebratory of nature and things, this seems more directly experiential - it's the BSP folks being inside of these subjects rather just authors of them. In that context, it feels like their most personal album. Similar to Vahhalla Dancehall, I also think it's BSP being very willful - this feels exactly like what they wanted it to be, not that I actually know that. However, rather than the "fuck em" vibe I got from VD, MoJ feels very honest. Not obstinate but completely ingenuous.

One puzzling thing is that seems it can work on two totally different levels - good party and almost dance songs (!) but also good walk-in-the-woods songs. To the journey aspect of it, that too feels very different from earlier albums. Honestly, the vibe I get from these songs isn't that of a physical journey but of a psychedelic drug trip, sometimes manic and frenetic, other times chilled and reflective, with brooding lulls and relevatory highs. It's not always a "true adventure" out in nature, but sometimes a walk through a haunted wood. Now, that could just be my listening setting talking. I don't know how to rate the album overall yet. It feels like a good repeated listen but maybe not in all settings. I would listen to the first three albums anytime, anywhere. Not this. In that sense maybe it's a 7/10 for me. To a non-fan, I can't seeing it getting much attention at all. They may be so at ease with their quirky selves that others will be like "WTF?" A 6/10 in that context?

<iframe width="853" height="480" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/DHUes0dGjUI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Individual song ratings (and a small pic of where I actually was at the time):

1. Machineries of Joy - 9 - I don't care what the band say about tossing out anything that sounded like old BSP, this is classic majestic BSP and a fitting start to the "trip".
<img src="http://blir.smugmug.com/Nature/Machineries-of-Joy/i-sKPJH3M/0/M/12-M.jpg">

2. K Hole - 7 - didn't like it at all until my 4th listen; a druggy, frenetic trip indeed.
<img src="http://blir.smugmug.com/Nature/Machineries-of-Joy/i-PGpSmhC/0/M/9-M.jpg">

3. Hail Holy Queen - 7 - this is that reflective comedown bit post-K Hole; good fit.
<img src="http://blir.smugmug.com/Nature/Machineries-of-Joy/i-GmpXB4f/0/M/10-M.jpg">

4. Loving Animals - 7 - this is really haunting, and the ending bits are kinda scary alone in the woods; it's almost post-apocalyptic in parts.
<img src="http://blir.smugmug.com/Nature/Machineries-of-Joy/i-SKZ2VZb/0/M/8-M.jpg">

5. What You Need the Most - 8 - good positive vibes; needed post-Animals.
<img src="http://blir.smugmug.com/Nature/Machineries-of-Joy/i-Gs3gxdJ/0/M/7-M.jpg">

6. Monsters of Sunderland - 4 - horns feel a little too ham-fisted; I wasn't quite ready to go frenetic again; when 6-piece BSP are inferior to old 4-piece BSP.
<img src="http://blir.smugmug.com/Nature/Machineries-of-Joy/i-8Cqm2MJ/0/M/6-M.jpg">

7. Spring Has Sprung - 7 - most-improved with listening; it almost starts on the wrong note for Hamilton's voice but gets better.
<img src="http://blir.smugmug.com/Nature/Machineries-of-Joy/i-DGVqzxm/0/M/4-M.jpg">

8. Radio Goddard - 9 - this bit's glorious; it's like that point well into a "trip" where you're getting comfortable with the mojo of it and just letting it wash over you.
<img src="http://blir.smugmug.com/Nature/Machineries-of-Joy/i-dfKHLxG/0/M/5-M.jpg">

9. A Light Above Descending - 7 - almost a continuation of Goddard; little more upbeat; enjoyable but not brilliant.
<img src="http://blir.smugmug.com/Nature/Machineries-of-Joy/i-RrdCgQP/0/M/3-M.jpg">

10. When a Warm Wind Blows - 2 - wow, I guess I don't get this song; it's a total downer for me, almost like it's pulling me back into earlier parts of the album rather than finishing it off properly; the song feels unfinished, so the album feels unfinished as well.
<img src="http://blir.smugmug.com/Nature/Machineries-of-Joy/i-Kpg8J2g/0/M/1-M.jpg">
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Postby coop41 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:32 am

[i]while walking in the woods[/i]

Is this where you bury the bodies?
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Postby Frau_Blucher » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:36 am

[quote][i]Originally posted by coop41[/i]
<br>[i]while walking in the woods[/i]

Is this where you bury the bodies?
[/quote]
Some of the pieces.
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Postby wherewereuin82 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:35 pm

I've looked at all the pictures. All I really come up with? If a tree falls on the forest, does anybody hear?
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Postby Frau_Blucher » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:16 pm

[quote][i]Originally posted by wherewereuin82[/i]
<br>I've looked at all the pictures. All I really come up with? If a tree falls on the forest, does anybody hear?
[/quote]
Might be true that. Seems a lot of journalists like it. Many of their fans. I don't think any new customers, erm, fans, will hear it.

Still, parts of it are growing on me in a weird personal way.
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Postby zill » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:22 pm

I like the first track, even though its all been done before by the Icicle Works.

I really liked it until the vocals kicked in.
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Postby Frau_Blucher » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:46 pm

You're like the little boy who's mean to the pretty little girl, not wanting her to know how much of a crush you have on her. Come out of the closet man...you love 'em!!!

I'll tell ya, this album is turning out to be a bit of a tale of two sets of songs - some that I'm consistently skipping over and have little business on the album. But some just keep getting better and better. Loving Animals is part of the latter. Magnificent. A radio edit that chops off some of the spooky stuff at the end is sure to be the big summer Ibiza dance hit.

What You Need The Most is another. About 2:00 into it, I swear to you that it turns into Mission A New World Record-era ELO, weird synth noises and all. Absolute ecstasy cranked up loud. I guess I'm hooked on 3-letter acronym Brit bands with synths and strings. Ah Machineries of Joy indeed! [8D]
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Postby Frau_Blucher » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:15 pm

A report from their tour opener in the UK is rather distressing. Jehnny Beth from Savages apparently joined them for a rousing rendition of Apologies To Insect Life. Fine taste that woman. Weeping to have missed this. [V]

<img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8520/8618239638_a61683fac5_z.jpg">
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Postby Frau_Blucher » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:32 am

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/XH4ZgcSMpfE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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Postby schwenko » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:57 am

[quote][i]Originally posted by Frau_Blucher[/i]
<br><iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/XH4ZgcSMpfE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
[/quote]

wow!
someone filmed your dream!

Sugoi !!!
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Postby Frau_Blucher » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:34 am

[quote][i]Originally posted by schwenko[/i]
<br>
wow!
someone filmed your dream!
[/quote]
Pretty much! [:I]
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Postby zill » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:52 pm

[quote][i]Originally posted by Frau_Blucher[/i]
<br>[quote][i]Originally posted by schwenko[/i]
<br>
wow!
someone filmed your dream!
[/quote]
Pretty much! [:I]
[/quote]

Come now, we're all still waiting for Fleet Foxes to cover Doot Doot!
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Postby tileboy » Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:52 am

Wow! A walk in the woods to me is can I get back to the fairway and get up and down for a bogey!:) I do like the song in the vid.
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