Any British Sea Power release is something that I get excited about. Man Of Aran is something a little different for the Brighton band. The album is a score to the 1934 film “Man Of Aran.” Robert J Flaherty’s 1934 docu-drama about the life of fishermen in Ireland. It is a project that you could really only see British Sea Power taking on. The album on a whole is mostly instrumental. But where the album really shines is as a film score. The images of the film combined with these gentle songs are something beautiful. The album gets going early with “The South Sound” – a gigantic epic piece of music that would fit comfortably in the next record. There are not many 11+ minute tunes that give you the feeling that something is just beginning and a new journey is about to start.
The only track with vocals, “Come Wander with Me” follows up next. This track is that it is a Jeff Alexander composition first aired on the TV series the Twilight Zone and it is worth your while to track down the clip of the song from the show. The band even manage to rework a few of their older tracks into this release as in the case of “It Comes Back Again” which is a reworking of “True Adventures.” They manage to pack a more elegant and graceful tune this time around. The album closes with “No Man Is An Archipelago” which is a reworking of their track “The Great Skua” off of last year’s Do You Like Rock Music? During, the first listen I was thinking the tracks should have been switched to finish off the record. But, those last seconds showed why it was the better track to finish off this ambitious set.
It is hard to compare this album to the band’s other three records but they seem to be more adventurous. Having the movie to work with allowed the band to work in a framework but still allow these songs to grow and feel so organic at times. We have to give it up to British Sea Power for such for the effort and for something this year that is very different.