British Sea Power Man of Aran

British Sea Power Man of Aran
British Sea Power have been accused for some time of taking themselves a little too seriously, and their latest release isn't going to do anything to help their cause. Rather than the proper follow-up to last year's Mercury Music Prize-nominated Do You Like Rock Music?, Man of Aran is the new soundtrack for the 1934 film of the same name. The film, a documentary created by Robert J. Flaherty (of Nanook of the North fame), tells the story of life on the Aran Islands, off the Western coast of Ireland. And like Nanook, Man of Aran had some suspect scenes that were likely staged, and some of the participants were cast. Man of Aran is effective for its intended purpose but isn't particularly satisfying as a British Sea Power album. Despite all its stirring, atmospheric pieces, isolated from the equally powerful images of the documentary it's apparent that this is never meant to be in the spotlight by itself. It's still an important record but more so for the band, demonstrating range they had only hinted at previously. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact this experience will have on their proper fourth album when it appears. (Rough Trade/Beggars Group)