Artist: British Sea Power
Title: Machineries of Joy
Record Label: Rough Trade
The sixth record by quirky Brighton dwellers, British Sea Power is called Machineries of Joy and although it carries a mechanical moniker the LP itself is chocked full of human feeling with a real sense of catharsis and cleansing that crop up as reoccurring themes. The band’s latest outing veers from bonkers rock outs, mid paced numbers with an air of poignancy and tender reflective moods that makes Machineries of Joy a multi-dimensional experience.
Although the record tends to lose momentum towards its climax, BSP’s new offering front ends its more varied missives from the off. The first three tracks cover the aforementioned bases with the title track kicking off the LP with a methodical, glimmering start, followed by ‘K-Hole’ an ode to party drug ketamine, normally reserved for horses by the way. This nugget is a rush of unhinged riffs and equally maniacal vocal howls. ‘Hail Holy Queen’ completes the triptych of BSP with the seaside inhabitants stripping everything back to allow lush strings to create a broad texture to accompany delicate lyrics like “I’m at your feet/I’m at your command”.
From here on in, Machineries of Joy finds a happy medium between the feverous freak outs and the trembling, expansiveness just mentioned. Something that BSP have done well here is creating a vibe or a feeling, ‘Spring Has Sprung’ feels like the perfect audio equivalent to beckoning away the bitter winter winds and ushering in the glowing warmth of the spring time. This is helped by a tumbling riff and calming vocals that feel like the dawn of a new day. ‘A Light Above Descending’ conveys the previously mentioned theme of being cleansed, buoyed by cinematic strings this wistful missive feels like the shedding of an old skin with the optimism of a new phase ahead. A special mention has to be made where ‘Monsters of Sunderland’ is concerned, here BSP flex their guitar histrionics coupled with Screamedelica style brass blasts making for an off-kilter jolt amongst the more sedate tracks.
Certainly not “leap-out-your-seat” elated but still enjoyable, Machineries of Joy although isn’t robotic but what it lacks in circuit boards it makes up for in joyfulness.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams