With a soaring choral intro that erupted abruptly into erratic sprays of knuckle-blistering guitar, British Sea Power's debut, The Decline of British Sea Power, was anything but predictable. But Open Season, the English group's anticipated follow-up, is exactly what you'd expect from a sophomore effort: a tamer, meeker, more manicured version of its predecessor. Strangely, though, this ruckus-free approach has unveiled the delicate pop resplendence that was pulsing under BSP's songs all along. Mining the common root connecting the Psychedelic Furs, the Pixies, and the Arcade Fire, Open Season doesn't inject itself into your brain as much as it dribbles in subliminally; by the time the disc is halfway through, it's hard to remember anything but a pleasant, head-bobbing blur. And perhaps such unwavering and dynamics-starved repetition is the band's intent -- which is too bad, because even its newfound knack for immaculate songcraft isn't enough to recapture the ignition and imagination that put British Sea Power on the map in the first place.
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