British Sea Power are a band based in Brighton, East Sussex, England who formed in 2000. Since 2003 they have released seven albums and become one of the most respected cult acts in indie rock, loved as much for the eccentricities as they are for their anthemic indie rock.
Although the band are currently stationed in Brighton, the seeds of the band were sewn in Natland, Cumbria, all the way on the other side of the country to the south coast. Natland was where lead singer and rhythm guitarist Jan Wilkinson grew up, alongside his brother Neil who would later be their bass player, and their childhood friend Matthew Wood, who would go on to play the drums for the band. The trio spent their adolescence playing in what few bands they could put together in Natland, but Jan is a year older than Neil and Matthew, so he left Natland before them to go to university in Reading. However, it was there that he met the bands future guitarist Martin Noble, and once Neil and Matthew had joined them there, they all formed a band together that they christened British Air Powers.
However, at the time Reading only had the beginnings of a music scene, which wasn’t enough for this already ambitious and highly idiosyncratic band. In search of somewhere that suited them more, the band relocated to Brighton and found that they fit right in, and set about recording demo tapes and playing as many gigs as they could. One of their first demo tapes came to be entitled “British Sea Power”, and as they were know based on the south coast, and making a great deal of buzz for themselves, the band felt that this would be a more fitting name for the band rather than one of their songs. It was at this point that they also put together Club Sea Power, their own club night which they headlined along with support acts as varied as a 200 year old Sussex folk troupe and a 1940’s fashion show. These shows spread their name even further out and brought them to the attention of Geoff Travis, the head of Rough Trade Records, who signed them to the label on the strength of their live show and their debut single “Fear Of Drowning” in September 2001.
Wisely, the band decided to take their time on their debut effort, and “The Decline Of British Sea Power” wasn’t released until June 2003. While it didn’t set the charts alight initially, it was massively acclaimed critically and as word of mouth about the album spread it was certified Silver over the next two years. Ever since then, the band have become ever more critically and commercially succesful. They’ve been hailed as one of the must see live bands of their generation, while also enjoying a top twenty single in the form of March 2005’s “It Ended An Oily Siege”. They’ve also enjoyed a further two Silver certified albums with 2005’s “Open Season” and 2008’s Mercury Award nominated “Do You Like Rock Music”. They remain to this day true national treasures in the making, there’s no-one else like them in the world, and they couldn’t have come from anywhere else in the world, and for that, British Sea Power come highly recommended.
British Sea Power were at the Con Club on Sunday 26th May 2019