I ruddy love remembering certain bands exist. Not that British Sea Power have had much time in the dank dirty shadows of nowheresville as such. Unless I’ve taken my fingers off the pulse lately, I consider them to have followed the Gomez route, tucked away in a comfortable position away from the brightest lights with the only related six-figure number connected to their careers being YouTube viewing figures. No problem with that. Not in the bright lights, not rattling tins on Kickstarter.
How the might and eccentricity of British Sea Power failed to connect with a wider audience bemuses me something rotten. Bounding into view as a clump of over-eager Ecology Society members with the collected vocal sigh of Damon Gough, the first BSP album rocked up and chilled out to the vibe of the age without spilling a flake of whatever they were doubtlessly rolling into their exotic cigarillos. Why and how attention drifted away from them I can’t understand, although they probably caught the Curse of BBC Three Festival Presenters, infecting numerous next-big-things by close proximity to excitable blonde women of a certain age wishing the 1990s back into existence by pure force of will. How Mendip Council deals with the bodies of bassists found head-down in piles of plaid shirts and Comedy Club guest-passes I shudder to think.
What “Machineries of Joy” does is remind me how BSP maintain a very specific place in a narrow niche of music right now, away from the contrived farmers market twee at one side of the spectrum and polished advertisement soundtracks on the other. It’s a track of intelligence, they so often are, but one of joy and energy too. Taking little touches of Elbow in the strings adds the mainstream touch to an all round independent song. Romance penetrates (careful) with a bittersweet aftertaste (I said, stop it). This is very well seasoned.