Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Noughties By Nature #12: British Sea Power - No Lucifer

It should have all been so easy (easy! easy!).

Produced with no little grandeur by G!YBE figurehead Efrim Menuck, Do You Like Rock Music? was supposed to have been the album that made British Sea Power go stratospheric, and with Waving Flags, they'd got their foot in the door. All they needed was one final charge, and when 'No Lucifer' was announced as the follow-up, success was assured...so they decided to sneak the single out on 10" vinyl - and even then, only featuring an inferior alternative mix of the track.

It's this wilful shunning of any form of convention that made British Sea Power one of the decade's most compelling bands, from the onstage bearfights, foliage and Kendal Mint Cake-distribution to the unique worldview of their lyrics - this is, after all, a band who opened their debut album with a track of plainsong, followed by a song hailing Dostoevsky's good looks. Like when Julian Cope surprised the universe with World Shut Your Mouth, No Lucifer is the sound of a band transcending their eccentricities and making something Very Special Indeed. Built from parts so disparate - wrestling chants, thunderous drums, keening little-boy-lost vocals and the kind of microsymphony that Brian Wilson might have made had he swallowed the Boys' Own Manual - that they shouldn't have worked on their own, let alone together, it's arguably their finest three minutes, and the sort of mini-epic that should really have inspired more people to try this at home.

Then again, thinking about it, it's probably a good thing it hasn't.
Alex Wisgard

[Album: Do You Like Rock Music?]

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