I don't quite get it. British Sea Power's third album, Do You Like Rock Music?, was released stateside Tuesday to much fanfare but also some criticism -- some very pointed criticism. A perusal of the capsule reviews at Metacritic suggests that most critics give DYLRM? high marks. But there are also a number of critics -- most notably, the one from Pitchfork -- who mock BSP for what they perceive to be a misguided grappling for grandeur. It seems Pitchfork guy sees a band reaching for stadium rock when it's barely capable of parents' basement rock. On a scale of 1-10, he gave DYLRM? a U.2, whatever the hell that means. (Cheeky commentary on DYLRM? being derivative of U2, I suppose.) Methinks Pitchfork guy doth focus too much on the whimsical album title.
How could anyone who hears BSP think U2, whether in a literal or conceptual sense? When I listen to BSP, I hear more shoegazer pop than MTV pomp. (Okay, I have nothing against U2. "Pomp" just seems to flow well after "pop.") I think I finally understand the rampant hostility in the indie rock world toward Pitchfork.
Just as puzzling are the comparisons to Arcade Fire. While at Youtube pulling up the video above, I came upon the following comment: "God, tey [sic] are so ripping off Arcade [F]ire using like instruments and sounds." (I have a sneaking suspicion that this commentary emanated from the depths of the San Fernando Valley.) The comment would be nonsensical even if it were given the most generous of interpretations. Surely she doesn't mean that BSP has pilfered the Arcade craft by using two guitars, a bass and a drum set to make sounds. My guess is that she finds similarity between the wah wah infused sounds of BSP and the falsetto swirls created by Arcade Fire on songs like "No Cars Go." And, you know, I suppose there is similarity. Such keen ears she has. But that's as meaningful as saying Italian pasta is a ripoff of Chinese noodles because they both use flour. (Um, wait a second ...) Actually, it'd be more like saying Chinese noodles are a ripoff of Italian pasta. (BSP, after all, released its first album before Arcade Fire.)
All beside the point, really, because I love DYLRM? I must confess, though, that I was rather disappointed upon my first listen because none of the songs grabbed me. But upon a second listen in a darkened room, the waves of soaring melodies came alive and swept me under.