British Sea Power are the kind of British name you can trust – the Marks & Spencer of the indie world, if you will. Rough Trade stalwarts, it’s heartening to see Scott Wilkinson and his foliage-loving cronies still releasing decent records. A self-consciously eccentric bunch, even the title of this new album is tongue-in-cheek; there’s little sign of either Norse mythology or Jamaican disco to be found here (barring perhaps the steel drums on ‘Observe The Skies’).

The album opener dishes out some familiar BSP riffage, but with a punky turn and some stadium-heavy drums, and the band have ratcheted up the quality on this, their fourth long-player. ‘We Are Sound’ is brushed with Arcade Fire-esque grandeur; ‘Georgie Ray’ is reminiscent of classic Buffalo Tom, ‘Mongk II’ is a hard-edged standout track. At an hour the album is slightly too long and there are one or two weakish songs, but ‘Valhalla Dancehall’ proves BSP’s unique musical powers are yet to wane.

By Chris Watkeys

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