In the run-up to the 2008 release of their third full-length, Do You Like Rock Music?, British Sea Power drop the pressing Krankenhaus? EP. After their amazing, powerful, expansive 2003 debut, The Decline of British Sea Power, BSP went in a slightly more pop vein with their 2005 follow-up, Open Season. Now they take another turn, employing more of a driving force to their sound, all the while never losing their own unique idiosyncrasies.
Krankenhaus? opens with a quintessentially British Sea Power ‘strange topic’ song, “Atom”, which is singer Yan’s take on quantum theory and humanity’s approach to it. With driving indie-rock collisions, “Atom” is faster, and more raucous, than previous BSP. A similar amped-up speed is present on second song, “Down On The Ground”, but on a completely different lane. Higher vocals give this piece a feel akin to 80’s New Wave-rock. Both “Ground” and an extended version of “Atom” will be featured on Do You Like Rock Music?, so they possibly serve as harbinger for the new record.
But that’s only a guess, as things go very differently on “Straight Down The Line”, a sweet, innocent, Casio-pop tune. “Hearing Aid” is more in line with “Atom”, only more so, as an epic, crashing, impact of explosions. Krankenhaus? finishes with the nine-minute-plus “The Pelican”, a collection of atmospheric effects and backwards voices, but with an energetic rock song in the middle. Fun, it never feels too long.
British Sea Power is a band that’s constantly evolving, and Krankenhaus? EP is a sure sign of it. Just about to start a tour of America’s East Coast, BSP look set to once more surprise and amaze.