british sea power Scala london ***
The engagingly eccentric British Sea Power brought their latest tour to a close with a set as part of a vaudeville night at the Scala. The band emerged with a debut album in 2003, The Decline of British Sea Power, which harked back to the punk origins of early Joy Division. Next was one of 2005's best releases, Open Season, an album that evoked the windswept grandeur of Echo and the Bunnymen.
They have a new album scheduled for release early next year and tonight's set leans heavily on this and their debut. The band are famed for their anarchic live shows, which often feature stuffed animals and foliage on stage. This concert saw none of these props, although one person in the crowd was dressed up as a panda.
For a band who have strong ecological leanings - Open Season includes a tribute to a melted Arctic ice-cap - they are refreshingly free of any sanctimonious stances. Instead, they throw themselves headlong into a cacophonous noise with the vocalists, Yan and Hamilton, also combining on guitar and bass.
"Remember Me", from their debut album, is followed by the thrilling stomp of "Atom", a new song with the memorable refrain: "Oh, caveat emptor, open the atom's core." The band have always had a good ear for literate lyrics; their songs are peppered with phrases such as "your iridescent sheen", "amatory tendencies" and "elegiac stanzas". …