Beautiful Thunder

BRITISH SEA POWER – Let the Dancers Inherit the Party
THE GOOD: British indie rockers British Sea Power come back with a tighter sixth.
THE BAD: Sequencing? Most of the extended atmospheric stuff happens across the album’s second half resulting in a little lost momentum.
THE NITTY GRITTY: But Yan, Noble, Hamilton and the entire BSP crew are giving us what could be their best collection of songs since 2005’s sophomore effort “Open Season.” Tracks like “International Space Station” and “The Voice of Ivy Lee” blur the lines between quaint intelligent indie pop and bombastic stadium rock; the melodies fetching, the arrangements full-bodied.
Those craving the more reserved face of the band will find it on moody fog-drenched pieces such as “Electrical Kittens” and “Praise for Whatever.” Then, of course, there are all those wonderful (and very English) lyrical references to obscure historical events, current politics and the darker facets of everyday living. As is usually the case, we end up with music that’s extremely fascinating on multiple levels.
BUY IT?: Yes.

MEW – Visuals
THE GOOD: Danish indie rock trio (longtime guitarist Bo Madsen has left the building) gives us a direct concise seventh.
THE BAD: Those hoping for a few extended “progressive cuts” (the band usually goes for one or two per record) won’t find them this time out.
THE NITTY GRITTY: On the self-produced “Visuals,” Mew decided to put their “pop” chops front and center. That doesn’t make this a disposable or one-dimensional record though. We still get melodies and overall arrangements that soar high above the clouds, multi-layered harmonies and a wall of sound built upon guitar lines and keyboard swirls meshing gracefully. Standard Mew stuff.
Only this time, frontman Jonas Bjerre and company set all these elements across songs that never lose focus or go off on indulgent tangents. Tracks like fragile opener “Nothingness and No Regrets” or the melodic (and only slightly thunderous) “In a Better Place” wash over our senses with the perfect balance of elegance and volume. After all, Mew remains a rock band.
BUY IT?: I would.

THE GOOD: British indie rockers Kasabian stick to a well-worn formula on their sixth.
THE BAD: “Crying” is predictable but still enjoyable.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Some bands simply create solid collections that never quite fit in with current trends or blaze bold new trails. Kasabian is one such act.
Since the mid-2000s, lead vocalist Tom Meighan and guitarist/producer/composer Sergio Pizzzorno have been churning out danceable rock anthems harkening back to the beat-driven ’90s while moving steadily forward without jumping on any one particular bandwagon.
“Crying” is their latest set which finds the band sounding rejuvenated. Whether it’s the seamless punchy groove of “You’re in Love with a Psycho” or the cloudy dramatics slathered all over “The Party Never Ends,” the guys smack us full on with embraceable melodies riding airtight arrangements. The dance floor clatter of “Are You Looking for Action” would fit next to some animated jam by the Rapture. The epic sway of “Put Your Life on It” ends the album on a resonating high note.
BUY IT?: Why not?

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