Brilliantine Mortality


Published reviews, features and interviews 2002-2005

This page contains extracts from reviews of BSP releases and live performances. To read full reviews, as well as interviews and features on the band, click on the links below. Go to the links page for the full links directory.

Open Season
The Decline
live reviews

For fan reviews of live BSP shows, click here

Open Season

The second album... takes the most melodic, pop(ulist) aspects of the first and refines them into a listening experience of enduring reward. Set against pulse-quickening, neck-hair bristling guitars of a vaguely 80s indie hue, frontman Yan's lyrics are reliably erudite and esoteric and unapologetically Anglocentric. One for the Albums of the Year list. 5/5 The Independent on Sunday 1/4/05

Where most psych-rockers wallow in a miasmic slough, BSP's explorations are anchored by a powerful rhythm section and boast the kind of ringing, anthemic hooks that Coldplay would kill for. The result is that even on dreamy reflections such as To Get To Sleep and The Land Beyond... there's no hint of drift, no sense that the song has become becalmed... Open Season is a splendid, individual achievement, fully the equal of more high profile recent offerings from BSP's peers. 5/5 The Independent 1/4/05

BSP have produced an album as good as, perhaps even better, than their debut. They justify a top-table placing even in today's packed musical pantheon. 5/5 Sunday Times 3/4/05

Open Season does everything a second album should do. It's bursting with progress and development, yet unmistakeably British Sea Power; it's commercial enough to yield a salvo of hit singles but with enough twists to set it triumphantly above the masses... The year is young and there may well be a better album released at some point, but I rather doubt it. 5/5 Manchester Music 3/05

As with the Smiths, you are struck by the thrilling sense of being drawn into a world not defined by tired standard rock iconography. Not just a marvellous album, Open Season is a triumphant lesson in sweeping gracefully towards the mainstream with your imagination and mystery intact. 4/5 The Guardian 25/3/05

Nothing can camouflage the soaring brilliance of BSP's existentially preoccupied guitar anthems, characterised by frontman Yan's breathlessly evocative vocals. Like its predecessor, Open Season combines a pastoral fixation with literate philosophical musings... Little England has rarely sounded so ambitious or expansive.Observer Music Monthly 3/05

An album full of fascinating idiosyncrasies... The music and the group's unique sense of Englishness combine to make a noise itself that lives in the imagination. Far from stumbling with a 'difficult' second album, British Sea Power have fashioned an image and a sound that breathes with originality, grace and poise. 8/10 NME 2/4/05

Melodic simplicity reigns on BSP's second album, leaving the ears and the imagination freer to ponder the importance of melting ice caps. Singer Yan's Bowie-ish tones suit his lyrics of awe and exasperation to a tee. British Sea Power believe firmly that if nature is King Kong, man is Fay Wray, wriggling uselesly in its clutches. But on the strength of this excellent album, they sure know how to put up a fight Daily Telegraph 2/4/05

Tremendous drama, icy soundscapes and walloping pop thumps... The current single sets the scene with its arcane trappings and impassioned baroque hollers. Several tracks are better still. As Yan sings on Victorian Ice, "totally wicked and equally ace." 8/10 Planet Sound 1/4/05

British Sea Power's music glows with such an unforced, natural charm you can't help but cherish them for their romance... Another special album from a very special band - proof that a ton of feathers can really pack the same punch as a ton of grit. Time Out 30/3/05

The follow up to The Decline of British Sea Power has grace and gusto by the earful. Mapping a course between Echo and the Bunnymen and the Strokes, the single It Ended on an Oily Stage layers lustrous guitars to reverb-laden, emotion-drenched singing. 4/5 The Times 26/3/05

British Sea Power are a very excellent thing. Not only do their sly melodies hook you, but their erudite lyrics - about really important subjects such as insomnia cures and Ordance Survey maps - are a joy forever. Sunday Telegraph 3/4/05

Introspective, dreamy and gleeful, Open Season is quirky English guitar pop at it's best. The perfect soundtrack for the rapidly approaching summer. 4/05

Open Season is the album that will finally take British Sea Power out of the indie corner and on to the main stage. 4/5 The Sun 1/4/05

The Decline of British Sea Power

This startlingly audacious debut is unlike anything you'll hear this year... The band's retro claustrophobia collides with very modern, utterly stinging confusion... Military drumrolls fight against soft keyboards, heavy guitars try to drown out snatches of electronica, and all the time the tension between lofty lyricism and posturing musical simplicty grows. British Sea Power will fight them on the beaches – and they might just win. 4/5 The Guardian 30/5/03

Pin back yer lugholes, one of the most exciting albums of 2003 has arrived. Listening to The Decline of British Sea Power is a scalp-prickling, nape-tickling, ear-blistering experience... The tunes are beautiful, sad and wise. At times, it's reminiscent of Billy MacKenzie's Associates in the near hysterical fervour that runs through every song - a febrile, urgent madness which suggests time is running out, that if this stuff isn't somehow captured here and now, it will be gone forever. Mercifully, they've caught it, and here it is, in all its epic glory. Daily Telegraph 31/5/03

A work of intense emotional resonance. British Sea Power have made an indelible mark on music's register. At a time when music is sounding more disposable than ever, that's a remarkable achievement. 5/5 Bang 6/03

Carrion is the sound of a shipwrecked Echo and the Bunnymen navigating their way around your heart. Singer Yan uses his strange half-whisper to depict the lapping of ebbing tides while swirling back vocals get engulfed in raging waves of guitar. It's truly wonderous, the crowning moment of a frequently dazzling debut... They're out of place, out of time, and quite possibly out of their minds. But explore this record and you'll find they're also often out of this world. 8/10 NME 31/5/03

An album of stadium-sized melodies and exquisite song-writing. An album to move and intrigue. It seems the intense, intelligent, nonconformist listener has a new band to love. 4/5 Mojo 6/03

BSP write songs that you can actually ponder over time - imagine that - and The Decline... will almost certainly be the only album this year to mention Scapa Flow and the Death's Head Hawk Moth. Such is their erudition, when Yan begins Fear of Drowning with the line "Jesus f**king Christ oh God no", it's genuinely shocking in context. Their always poised, often epic rock oscillates between the frenzied and the elegiac. A strange and exhilarating record. 4/5 The Independent on Sunday 1/6/03

BSP have taken an obvious fondness for Joy Division and Talking Heads and mixed it with a sharply-observed love of nature, literature and history, to craft a genuinely great album of artful, new wave rock Time Out 29/5/03

With an unlikely blend of classicism and narrative, British Sea Power have composed a brilliant album that's nearly perfect. 4.5/5 All Music Guide 7/03

From the Gregorian chants that pressage Men Together Today to Something Wicked's sub-Spector chimes and Carrion's Hunky Dory strut, unabashed whimsey merges seamlessly with melodious garage rock... A stunning debut. 4/5 Q 6/03

The term 'eccentric' ony scratches the surface of what BSP are about. Ploughing their own furrow with a wide selection of influences, this is highly angular art rock that rattles through blues, skiffle, punk, Bowie-esque manouevres and lots, lots more. 4/5 The Independent 31/5/03

Riveting... full of ideas and invention 4/5 Uncut 6/03

Light up those cliff-top beacons - British Sea Power might have signed up to see the world, but this incredible debut album makes it sound like they intend to rule it 4.5/5 The Fly 6/03

Cobweb-clearing, synapse-tickling, gymnastic harmonies of uniform brilliance... British Sea Power are a band to dig like buried treasure. Sleazenation 6/03

It makes me want to run, to shout, to scream... if I died listening to this album, I'd go down with my fist in the air. Careless Talk Costs Lives 6/03

One of the finest debut albums of the year, if not the last five... no one has an excuse not to own this stunning album - superb! CD Times 10/03

Very rarely does a record have the ability to touch your soul and take control of all emotion from delight to sorrow, anger to nostalgia. This truly is an untouchable debut from possibly the finest British band in decades. Do Something Pretty 5/03

It's the album they'd always promised us they'd make; consider The Decline... British Sea Power's entrance pass to the ranks of the truly almighty. 4/5 Playlouder 6/03


The most exciting live band in Britain. The Sunday Times 25/5/03

As magnificent as The Decline of British Sea Power is, it's onstage that the band's searing power and heady imagery receive the full, panoramic treatment. Right now, there's no-one else quite like them. Metro 21/5/03

Been to see British Sea Power lately? Boy oh boy. Their live shows, once merely a quaint eccentricity of wood and electricity, have evolved into a chilling, thrilling, all-out assault on the brain... a cinematic hoot for the psychologically sturdy and a headf**k for the emotionally weak. Think David Lynch hosting a sleepover in Kew Gardens. Think Tim Robbins guiding Berlin-era Bowie around the set of Jacob's Ladder... Comparisons, like resistance, are futile. Playlouder 6/03

Wood drums with the speed and precision of a man trying to save his own life. Noble and Hamilton, animated like robots short-circuiting, dash about the stage. Eamon, wearing a marching band bass drum parades solo into the crowd, like a wind-up toy out of control. Then there's Yan, who is the maddest of the lot... To find a spot in your heart for British Sea Power is to allow yourself to be colonized. It's to give in to music that ticks like a time bomb... Seeing them live, there's something frightfully commandeering going on. You will be ruled by their chaos. You have been warned. Popmatters, review of NorthSix, Brooklyn. 8/03

White noise and liberation. It's the sea cadet marching band deprived of rations for five days and under demonic possession. Everything you've already experienced could very well have been irrelevant. Crud Magazine, review of Garage, London. 6/03

F**k this puerile drivel, we're going to see British Sea Power, who are everything that Weezer are not... British Sea Power are mad as f**k on every level. All of them have this crazy acid-fried stare, the bass player is wearing tree branches on his head, and one deliriously psycho-delic tune concludes with singer Yan beating on the drum kit with a large stuffed owl. British Sea Power rule. Rolling Stone, review of Reading Festival. 4/9/02

Home   Profile  Discography  Lyrics  Downloads  Press   Fan reviews   Photos   Links   Third Battalion   Contact