British Sea Power – Let The Dancers Inherit The Party Review 

What is an escapist indie band to do in 2017 after seemly trying it all – even brass orchestras performing a best of collection and producing a live soundtrack to polish animations. Well if your British Sea Power the answer, it turns out, is to create a sixth album that almost feels… conventional. 

Don’t worry the world hasn’t stepped into the twilight zone, despite what the slightest glimpse at world media might be suggesting. Oddly enough that’s exactly the topic BSP’s first new album in four years ‘Let the Dancers Inherit the Party’ is here to console. Over the last 17 years of the band’s existence that would have meant a heavily nostalgic step into a bygone era, when things were less stressful or at least sepia toned enough to allow BSP to take you away from your modern concerns, however it seems ‘Let The Dancers Inherit The Party’ faces current affairs pretty head-on within Yan Scott Wilkinson’s fearless vocals, ‘kings of propaganda won’t you take another look at what you’ve done.’ 

This time BSP’s arsenal is a collection of direct, upbeat melodies to cheer your heart.Thankfully Martin Noble’s Bernard Sumner-style guitar leads are still present while BSP keep their habit for grandiose bombast and rebellious dissonance under control. ‘Bad Bohemian’ moves with the stirring vivacity of Echo and the Bunnymen, early James, and of course New Order, showing that though this album might be the most conventional in form for the band in a while that isn’t to say elements of their eerie The Cure style production have been left out in the cold entirely. Tracks like ‘International Space Station’, ‘What You’re Doing’, ‘Electrical Kittens’ and the elegantly poignant closer ‘Alone Piano,’ though drifting and celestial in tone, with often prominent synths, are modern love letters woven with a new-wave bitter-sweetness. 

Throughout BSP build a sense of vast starlit space and yet somehow still manage to wrap you in a familiar blanket. Yes, the world has lying politicians but when hasn’t it. Yes, we have unsettling people ready to remind us that their stupidity is not being listened to while simultaneously talking over everybody else. Yes, our days are taken up swearing irrationally at electrical devices we’re not entirely sure we wanted in the first place. And then there’s always Brexit, clearly an issue if your band name happens to sound a little on the patriotic side. But you don’t have to worry about all that as long as you’re dancing – okay so maybe the title does seem reminiscent of a simpler time, just more 2008 than the continued renascence of 1984. Overall ‘Let The Dancers Inherit The Party’ is a relatively calm response to an unsettled era after all the message BSP seems to be making here is a very British one, no matter what may happen we calmy carry on.

British Sea Power – Let The Dancers Inherit The Party = 7.5/10

Hayley Miller 

Wild Beasts – Boy King Review 

The very talented Cumbrian quartet that is Wild Beasts are back with their follow up to their brilliant fourth album Present Tense from 2014 with Boy King. It is an album that sees them mark a sea change in their sound as they look to drop the whirring, Art-Rock Psychedelica of two years ago for a Dark Pop, Electronic and Industrial sound. Despite being one of Britain’s most effective creative forces with several impressive efforts behind them; the band are being tipped to realise their true potential with Boy King. This is an odd expectation from a group that has proven their capabilities for years, but much of this success has occurred partially under the radar. Their greatest albums have often been overshadowed by The Horrors, PJ Harvey and FKA Twigs who generally stole British acclaim  from them in 2009, 2011 and 2014. Will a radical new sound see them get what they deserve? 

The opening single from the album is ‘Get My Bang’. It features heavily distorted bass elements and electronica that are met with crisp percussion and undulating anti-melodies that fall from Hayden Thorpe’s quivering vocals. The track is clear and bold with stocky sounds playing off slick pop melodies with Hayden’s often mysterious vocals spilling from it all. The track is rhythmic and purposeful whilst maintaining a distorted and rough core melody. This sound only sacrificed for a disorientating reprieve with a delicate and unerring falsetto to match it. ‘Big Cat’ is a song that continues the group on their dark electro-rock path this time with smooth progressions and crisp instrumentation on top of that; whirring, modulated synths act as the former and sharp riffs the latter. Hayden Thorpe’s tuneful utterances give the song an added fluidity and sense of effortlessness. A sense of suggestive unease remains with this track and beneath the slightly off clean presentation of the song are the thinly-veiled threats of the “Big Cat on top of the food chain”. ‘Tough Guy’ opens as a well poised piece of Electro-pop with minimalistic instrumentation and isolated vocals, yet a confidence about it demonstrates something more is to come. They duly deliver with bursts of blocky, distorted guitars that add a punchy to the song to match it’s confidence. The song is bold and uncomprosing with big, ambitous riffs and meandering synth chords. Despite this, the beat and style of the song remain unmoved. A song that goes big, but stays on point. 

There are spacious and dramatic expanses with ‘Celestial Creatures’ with cacophony of electronica in various packaged forms propelling the sound with an Industrial rough edge alongside spiralling, wiry sounds and rolling waves of sound. As these build and dominate the song, it almost heightens the senses as the song drags you up by the collar and into a different musical space altogether. ‘He The Colossus’ is a defiant and aggressive track that has echoes of Nine Inch Nails with it’s Industrial kick and edge, with driving riffs and heavily modulated beats and electronica. The tumbling percussion add a certain manic tendency to the progression of the song which is punchy and unrelenting it it’s driving power. ‘Eat Your Heart of Adonis’ is a song with a similar feel with heavily modulated synths forming the key part of the song and this time with distorted guitars trailing it. The bold, imposing guitars of the chorus echo that of Foals 2015 efforts, but with a greater deal of precision. Other tracks such as ‘Aplha Female’ are reminiscent of the electronic sounds of the late 1970’s, but with a sharper focus and with Indistrial guitars waiting in the wings. This sound encased within a funk methodology which defies logic on paper, but sounds so natural. Wild Beasts have definitely reached a new level with their sound on Boy King. It is full of bold sounds and with bags of confidence and self-belief, even a musical arrogance in their abilities. This confidence shines through here and this kind of album is the result of a talented group giving themselves the freedom to change and hone their sound by producing server all great albums already. They are the perfect example of why music should never stand still.

Wild Beasts – Boy King = 9/10 

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Wild Beasts – Get My Bang

The very talented Cumbrian quartet that is Wild Beasts are back with their follow up to their brilliant fourth album Present Tense from 2014 with Boy King which is expected on August 5th. The initial single from it is ‘Get My Bang’ which sees them drop the whirring, Art-Rock Psychedelica of two years ago for a more compact piece of Dark Pop. Heavily distorted bass elements and electronica are met with crisp percussion and undulating anti-melodies that fall from Hayden Thorpe’s quivering vocals. The track is clear and bold with stocky sounds playing off slick pop melodies with Hayden’s often mysterious vocals spilling from it all. It is another change of direction from the group that sees various genres and styles fitting together as if they were destined to. A definite contender for album of the year.

Owen Riddle

Wild Beasts – Present Tense Review


Wild Beasts from Kendal are on to their fourth album now and with each of the previous three, they have set a high bar for themselves. To continue with their success, adaptation and imagination is key to keep on reinventing themselves and this will need to be done with Present Tense. They have talked of pushing further with the electronic angle from 2011’s Smother and putting a more complex and aggressive slant upon it. After previously saying they were suffering from burnout with their third album and subsequent world tour; they have now had a decent amount of time to get Present Tense down and perfected so expect an album of high standards and refinement.

‘Wanderlust’ was the first track to be released off the album and came out in the last week of February. It opens with the steady bursts of classic synthesizers that remain an ever-present throughout in conjunction with the spring-echo of the percussion as the vocals samples and modes float alongside. The vocals are not recorded at full volume and the slight echo makes them feel cool and at ease as they slowly take the song along and string the parts together. The instrumentals see the synths grab the songs hook and pulls back towards the songs finale with the repeated vocals. The soft production of the primary vocal and melody is offset brilliantly by the more dense and isolated sounds of the driving synths in the background. ‘Sweet Spot’ begins with the subtle labouring riff that transforms into a more solid riff that offers a greater hook. The airy and ghostly backing vocals that open out and expand the songs space and integrate  with the main vocal that sits in the middle ground and adds balance to the instrumentals. The build up and let down of sounds and elements enhances the ease of the atmospheric tones the reverberate throughout the whole track. This is done with the heavy beams of the synth and is brought to it’s depth with the refrain of the guitars and the minimal arrangement of the vocal and percussion. The tone change is smoothly changed with the soft phasing of the synths to pull the song neatly back into the chorus and back to the source of the melody and rhythmic hooks. Such methods always work, but they have been tweaked to the finest aspects. Intuitive and creative takes on typical methods.

That rich and lingering atmosphere opens up ‘Mecca’ before winding the song up and sending it into a driving and pulsating synths track which is heavy on the percussion and has a dense and deep rooted bass line to rotate the rhythm and the groove. This allows the synths to shoot out from it. The conclusion starts with the spikey guitars that feed the song towards a culmination of vocals and synths before slowly peeling away the elements and ending in the same subdued and considered fashion it started. ‘New Life’ begins with two whirring synths at high and low pitches. The deep vocal matches it and delivers the lyrics in a more tragic and uneasy fashion. From this position it is set up for a perfect manipulation of sounds as the tearing guitar riff rips across and then as the modulated keys ever so slowly gather up pace to allow the percussion in and to allow the vocals to build. Each element slowly taking it’s place as the guitars come back in and the sounds begin to draw away from their source and expand so wonderfully in a patient and gradual fashion before slowly fading away again. ‘Nature Boy’ has a low depth and gritty sound about it’s electronica and from the lead vocal. The feather like backing vocals floating from it, but being unable to uproot the song from it’s deep standing. ‘A Simple Beautiful Truth’ is a well placed piece of retro leaning electro-pop. The soft lapping and shimmering of the conflicting synths. The crisp riffs and bass lines enhancing it along with the pop like melodies, lyrics and delivery. You get dramatic and darker tracks such as ‘Daughters’ and the pure melodic events of ‘Past Perfect’. There is a wide spectrum of genres being reinterpreted and re-explored while some new events being forged through painstaking structuring and production and probably recording as well. The album together is a magnificent string of tracks with peaks and troughs all perfectly placed with a whole range of production methods from the beautiful building up of sound to the crisp and hook filled affairs. One of the albums of the year.

Wild Beasts – Present Tense = 9/10

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Single Review – Woman’s Hour – Her Ghost

Woman’s Hour are a four piece consisting of Fiona Burgess, William Burgess, Nicolas Graves and Josh Hunnisett and plug some great atmospheric and spaced out music guided by Fiona’s vocals. They originally did this from their hometown of Kendal but now they forge such music from their new base in London. Their newest track ‘Her Ghost’ was played and reviewed rather positively on 6 Music’s Roundtable last Thursday and was where this song caught my attention. The track is almost a cleaner and more sharply produced Warpaint track with the elongated and lightweight synth sounds and guitars. The bass line flashing in bursts and the percussion remaining minimal results in a very feather-like song that is has a slightly added glaze to it from Fiona’s vocals that echo back into the neatly arranged instrumentals and have a soft edged vulnerability about them that acts as the variable in the song. A sleek and well produced track.