Live Music Review: British Sea Power at Rough Trade

Words: Gav Squires
Photos: Gav Squires
Tuesday 02 May 2017
reading time: min, words

British Sea Power popped into Rough Trade for a quick in-store gig and signing session to celebrate the release of their new album, Let The Dancers Inherit The Party. 


After a four year wait since their last proper album, British Sea Power went down the crowdfunding route for their new release. Being British Sea Power, they didn't offer the regular sort of rewards for this sort of thing - top level backers were given a band tattoo that will allow them into all BSP headlined gigs and any festivals that they arrange in perpetuity. 


As a band that inspire such levels of devotion, it was no surprise to see the queues to get in stretching past the entrance to Hartley's. That meant that once inside, there were a number of people who would have to make do with just hearing the band rather than actually seeing them.


Opening with The Voice of Ivy Lee, imploring "kings of propaganda, won't you take another look at all the things you've done", it emphasises the feeling that the new album is very much a comment on today's society. This is followed by International Space Station, with its "demagogues and fading stars"


Bad Bohemian was the standout track on the album, taking the classic BSP sound and tweaking up the New Order bass-led approach. Live, it is just as magnificent, resplendent with its brass and strings. They then whizz though What You're Doing before playing recent single, Keep On Trying (Sechs Freunde), which is introduced as "sex frog"


Live, as on record, St Jerome is the key track here, with its pleas for "just a little hope" - British Sea Power have looked out into the world and their conclusion is that only hope can help to save us now. Praise For Whatever rounds a great half hour show, made up entirely of songs from the new album.


With albums signed and a room full of happy fans, the "six friends" take their leave and head off to Leicester to play the Handmade Festival. Being slightly churlish one might be a little disappointed at the lack of any of the hits but this was very much a fan club gig in all but name and you can't really complain at the song choice, especially when the band played so well, it was a joyous hope-filled Sunday afternoon. 


The new British Sea Power album Let The Dancers Inherit The Party is available now


Rough Trade website

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