Of course we like rock music. It’s a strange question for a rock band to ask, and probably a dumb album title, but the simple query is characteristic of the sort of youthful innocence that this Brighton, England, four-piece wears on its collective sleeve. British Sea Power’s songs do tend to sound like the musical equivalent of misfit teenage boys at play, and their raucous live show only supports this theory. It’s easy to see that they enjoy beating chords out of their guitars as much as they enjoy the occasional on-stage handstand.
But three records into their career, these boys have proven that they’re particularly good at two kinds of songs — fast ones with loud, raging guitars and soft, shimmering compositions that build into majestic beasts by the third minute. Carrying over the better tracks from their 2007 Krankenhaus? EP, Do You Like Rock Music? features both of these kinds of songs, and a few tracks that successfully combine the two formulas. But overall it’s got less personality than the band’s previous two releases.
That’s not to say that the new record doesn’t have its share of great moments, it’s just that for the most part they’ve toned down the quirkiness that separated them from the rest of the post-punk rabble. This is a more serious, accessible British Sea Power, but perhaps a less fun British Sea Power, too.
The record’s crisp production (courtesy of Graham Sutton and Godspeed/Silver Mt. Zion’s Efrim Menuck) thankfully plays to the band’s strengths. As a result, team BSP has put together a few flawless gems, most notably ‘No Lucifer,’ a straight-ahead rock song that makes the band sound like Galaxie 500 on speed. While they chant “Easy! Easy!’, vocalist Hamilton sings about skulls, Hitler Youth and shaking off personal devils. It’s the kind of lighthearted take on serious feelings that great BSP songs are made of and it’ll have you wishing that more of the record were like this. At the very least, the best parts of Do You Like Rock Music? are a pretty good gateway into the band’s back catalogue.