For a band who rather impudently tempted fate when they named their first album The Decline of British Sea Power over a decade ago, Brightonian sextet British Sea Power haven’t done too badly out of managing that decline.
British Sea Power - Liquid Room, Edinburgh
Indeed, last year saw them release two albums – the top twenty success Machineries of Joy and the soundtrack to the documentary history of the UK’s coastline From the Sea to the Land Beyond – and this latest touring appearance in Scotland was met with an impressively devoted response from a crowd who have clearly stayed with them.
Choosing songs from across their impressively varied five-album career proper (not including the soundtracks), the set was a pleasing exercise in slow-burn emotive pressing, beginning with the ebbing instrumental Heavenly Waters and then the bright, sober grunge-pop of Machineries of Joy’s title track. The early stages also featured a volley of what might be termed their greatest hits in Fear of Drowning, It Ended On An Oily Stage and Carrion, although in truth this group have always gathered more admirers for the widescreen nature of their album-length vision.
When their one genuine singalong success appeared, the coruscating power-pop of Remember Me, it didn’t seem out of place amidst a set which featured over-driven guitars and a sense of the primally dramatic as standard. The stage was as packed full and borderline cluttered as the music, a swathe of choppy guitars, Jan Scott Wilkinson’s yearning, Bowie-esque vocal and Scots-English violinist Abi Fry’s keen playing, filling songs like measured instrumental The Great Skua and clattering, football chant finale No Lucifer with an elemental live power.