The band formerly known as British Sea Power – now the slightly trunctuated Sea Power – are set to release ‘Everything Was Forever’, their first record in five years. The album follows a dark and difficult period for the cult heroes with its sounds and lyrics steeped in mythology and memory. With influences ranging from H.P. Lovecraft and David Lynch to Coldwar Steve, the six-piece try to make sense of love, life, death and politics with typically melodic and eccentric wit.
A potent burst of feedback opens the record on ‘Scaring at the Sky’ before it morphs into a typically gorgeous and melancholic Bunnymen-meets-SP (it’s going to take while to get used to that shortened acronym) sound with heartbreaking lyrics about how nothing remains: ‘It’s enough to make you sick’. ‘Transmitter’ swiftly follows with crashing drums, post-punk riffs and questioning and direct lyrics: ‘What have you done, my dear?’; ‘It doesn’t matter so much anymore’. Next up is the album’s lead single, ‘Two Fingers’. A delightful and oddly touching tribute to the Wilkinson brothers’ late dad and his attitude to life – one that seems to have struck a chord with our jilted generation – it’s already a sing-along in waiting: ‘Two fingers for the dead, two fingers for the living, two fingers for the world that we all live in’.
Glacial guitar work and a wistful attitude run through the atmospheric ‘Fire Escape in the Sea’, a song that again has deeply affecting lyrics about making the most of things: ‘It’s obvious, it’s all so clear, it’s beautiful when you are near’. ‘Doppelganger’ is a deliciously dark and deranged tale about taking a dangerous journey set against Bambara-style hooks – ‘You’re a bodysnatcher. Look at me, I’ve got a new face’ – while ‘Fear Eats the Soul’ finds anxiety rising to the surface with thoughts about isolation being comforted by choral backing vocals. Another recent single, ‘Folly’ seemingly finds SP exploring the concept of (brilliantine) mortality with its warning that one day you will wake up in ‘a different world’ before ‘Green Goddess’ touches upon SP’s favourite topics of nature and companionship. Or could it just be a tribute to the 1980s fitness presenter Diana Moran?
The closing duo of ‘Lakeland Echo’ and ‘We Only Want to Make You Happy’ round off the album in stirring and melancholic style, the former being a distant cousin of SP favourite ‘Lately’ complete with talk of canals, and the latter starting with an intriguing statement – ‘This is the diagram, this is the heart. This is the diaphragm, this is the start’ – before delving into a sound that falls somewhere between Arcade Fire, Spiritualized and post rock. On this final song, the band reassure you ‘We only want you to be happy’ and they’ve clearly achieved their goal throughout these 10 songs. They may have dropped the British from their name but Sea Power remain a national treasure.