01
Mar
08

Do You Like Rock Music?

I sort of do.  I like pop music though more.  British Sea Power’s third album Do You Like Rock Music? is an ambitious effort to expand its sound and produce an expansive rock album.  It has been universally praised, except by Pitchfork, which went out of its way to bypass its own 0.0-10.0 rating system and give the album a “U.2.”  I guess that’s a reference to that really big band from Ireland.  Gosh, thanks Pitchfork for the insight–you wankers.  In all fairness, the review is pretty even-handed, but “U.2”?  Is trying to sound like a rock band, a la U2 at its height, a bad thing today with indie band after indie band producing eclectic little pop albums?  I don’t think so.  Simon Frith and other academics have declared rock is dead, in the sense that the genre has become so fractured and the myth of the great rock band continues to erode.  I typically agree, because most true “rock” albums I hear today are immensely disappointing, take the new CD by Athens, GA-based The Whigs (despite many great reviews), out on ATO.  Blah, I yell from the rafters.  Just not that gripping to me.  If it’s our era’s Replacements, as Spin writes, we’re fucked.  I actually respect The Whigs’ album though, because it is trying to revive a dying genre in my opinion and it works at times, much like British Sea Power.

So, Do You like Rock Music?  I’m still debating whether I’m going to praise it or just write, OK, very solid try.  It’s certainly not disappointing to me and it’s better than The Whigs.  Whether it’s great though is certainly up for debate, and again, I’m somewhat slanted and skewed toward the perfect pop song.  The Wombats are still delightfully kicking my ass, with hooks galore, which continue to dance in my head for days on end.  Much has been made that British Sea Power produced and recorded this album all over the place, most notably with Howard Billerman of Arcade Fire fame in Montreal and Efrim Menuck of Godspeed.  One of the better songs, “No Lucifer” is a Montreal track, and the Arcade Fire influence is clear.  So, I say again, are we really going to criticize a band whose sound resembles U2 and Arcade Fire too?  So, with a little trepidation, I recommend this album and here’s that song to check out.

The upcoming single, “No Lucifer”

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1 Response to “Do You Like Rock Music?”


  1. March 1, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with this song in my opinion. I listened to it as I read through yoru post and immediately picked up on the Arcade Fire similarity (certainly moreso than any sort of U2 connection). I don’t think anyone quite knows the agenda Pitchfork places on some of their reviews, but for bands like British Sea Power, one would think a praising review from them is difficult to come by these days. It’s as if the site has fallen into a rut by reviewing a band’s character or stereotypes rather than studying the actual music at hand.


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