British Sea Power, 'Valhalla Dancehall' (Beggars)

6
Valhalla Dancehall
Critical Mass
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Label: Beggars

by Spencer Kornhaber

Even before choosing a mission overstatement as the title of 2008's Do You Like Rock Music? these Scots were ambitious omnivores, pilfering from various guitar-group holy houses to build a new church devoted to knotty song structures, ritual stein-waving, and weepily crooned, craftily detailed sermons. This more diverse fifth outing cops fizzier influences in the band's ongoing quest to give cornball conviction a subversive patina: "Living Is So Easy" skewers superficial breeziness over breezy drum-machine patter, while the crunchy anticonsumerist opener "Who's in Control" attempts to merge hair metal and Marxism.

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