“Valhalla Dancehall” is the fourth full length album from Cumbria, Yorkshire natives, British Sea Power. Following the harder and less meditative album, “Do You Like Rock Music?” the six piece band, fronted by brothers, Yan Scott Wilkinson and Nathan Hamilton Wilkinson, has once again created an album exploding with catchy beats, flowing melodies, and dynamic sound. Drawing on a wealth of influences and honing in on the styles they have perfected over the years, this new album is a great addition to their already impressive discography.
The band recorded their newest album in a farmhouse in East Sussex and it contains everything from short, punchy tracks to long softly flowing pieces. This sprawling and picturesque environment can be heard in each of the thirteen tracks and adds greatly to the exhilarating nature that is “Valhalla Dancehall”.
The album starts off with in-your-face energy with the track “Who’s In Control”. Power ballad guitar riffs by guitarists Matt Noble and Phil Sumner form a riotous harmony reminiscent of the early Brit pop scene. The Wilkinson brothers delight with brooding and raw vocals singing, “Were you not told, do you not know, that everything around you is being sold”. Protesting back up vocals lend an extra edge to the already driving, and rebellious sound of Matt Wood’s percussion beats.
The album’s longest track, clocking in at eleven minutes, fourteen seconds is “Once More Now”. Unlike anything else on “Valhalla Dancehall”, it builds softly and slowly. It puts the listener into an almost transient state. It is a compelling and melodic track that hooks the listener almost instantly. Building to a driving and nearly desperate climax, the track quickly falls and returns to its meditative roots fading out with a soft and glowing harmony.
Also worth noting are the tracks, “Living Is So Easy”, a pleasant, bouncy pop tune, and “Thin Black Snail”, a more punk infused track riddled dark guitar riffs. The variations between these two songs demonstrate British Sea Power’s broad creative scope and talent. The keyboard styling of Nobel and Sumner on “Living Is So Easy” assist in the creation an upbeat and swirling energy, while Wood’s defiant percussion drives home “Thin Black Snail” with impressive fervor.
This deeply charming band ends their engaging and addictive album with a hypnotic track. “Heavy Water” is a hopeful and inspiring. As it comes to an end, it trails off slowly and almost magically, into the sunset. With lyrics like, “Everything was forever until it is no more” and “Did you see the heavy water fall/ Do you think that it means change” set to a pulsing drum and whispering back beat creates a perfect final track to an impressive album.
British Sea Power’s “Valhalla Dancehall” is their fourth full length album and after eight years of making music the band has once again produced an attractive and beautifully constructed piece of art. It’s clear that this band has no intention of quitting the music making business anytime soon. The fusion of electronic pop with indie sounds and punk tendencies creates an album that is enjoyable from start to finish.