British Sea Power - Salty Water

( Skip navigation )


Academy, Birmingham, UK

St George's day in Birmingham - there are two ways to celebrate: turn lobster-pink and collect carnations in the Victoria Square sunshine; or marvel at British Sea Power as they sing of floods, flying aces and nuclear fallout.

The Brighton-based, Cumbria-hewn quintet are strong contenders for the "most English band in the world ever" award and they're gradually collecting a fanbase to complement the critical acclaim delivered in barrel-loads for last year's debut album, "The Decline of British Sea Power".

They're essentially English not because they wave the flag or guzzle lager by the imperial gallon (a sponsorship tie-in with a well known Czech beverage notwithstanding) but because they praise the pastoral and idolise the idyllic in this green and pleasant land.

Indeed, a regular feature of their gigs is to bring some of the countryside to the stage, festooning it with tree branches and the odd stuffed owl.

Six nights into a UK tour that has directly followed a trip round North America and Europe has left the lead singer Yan (the band members work on a first-names-only basis) a little hoarse in places; the band are also known not to have the Academy on their list of favourite venues.

But still they swing during the more upbeat numbers such as "Remember Me" and "The Spirit of St Louis" while beautifully reflecting an early life spent a hiking distance from the Sellafield plant in the slower "Childhood Memories" ("God help us if the radiation leaks / And God help us if nobody knows for weeks").

Another trademark is to end the show on a jumping, throbbing rock riff while an eight-foot stuffed bear dances around the stage and the keyboard player disappears into the crowd dressed in army fatigues and bashing a military bass drum.

The set lacks new material - a new single has been released in typically eccentric style in the Czech Republic only - but British Sea Power's battalion of fans wait excitedly for the second album, rumoured to be ready by autumn 2004.

Author: Callum May
Source: BBC Birmingham: Music
Date: 23rd April 2004

« back to Press

Related Links

Site Info

Created And Maintained By James Sui