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MY PLAYLIST: British Sea Power

by Ian Martin

“Originally we wanted to record it as a psychedelic jam session, but in the end we just couldn’t help writing tunes,” says British Sea Power vocalist Yan (born Scott Wilkinson) of the making of their third (and arguably best) album, “Do You Like Rock Music?”

The English quartet have carved out a reputation as eccentrics through their past habit of decorating the stage with foliage and stuffed animals, as well as their penchant for playing unorthodox venues such as seaside cafes and parish churches.

Less melodramatic than their previous effort, “Open Season” (2005), “Do You Like Rock Music?” was recorded in the Czech Republic, Canada and a 19th-century coastal fort on England’s southwest coast. It tackles with wide-eyed enthusiasm themes such as nationalism, the 1953 floods of Canvey Island in England’s Essex County and the concept of “rock music as religion.”

Track that inspired the new album “Rock Music” The Pixies (1990)

It’s nonstop screaming and when you play it you end up in a state of semi-hyperventilation. It’s a pleasantly dizzying sensation.

Track that takes you back to Canvey Island “Coney Island Baby” Lou Reed (1976)

I like songs with names of places in them. When I was a kid I used to hear songs with these places and I’d imagine them — probably what I’d imagine was quite different and much more romantic than the reality. Coney Island, Canvey Island: It kind of sounds the same, right? They seemed like such exotic places. Apart from the odd band like The Kinks or The Smiths, you don’t really get that so much with English bands.

Track that feels like a religious experience “Out of my Mind on Dope and Speed” Julian Cope (1990)

Well, you’ve got dope and you’ve got speed, and you’ve got Julian Cope, and that’s got to be a religious experience. He’s definitely had a few of them in his time. We used to play this one ourselves — sometimes with new lyrics. It’s got really simple chords so we could easily work it into the end of one of our songs and jam on it.

Music that gets you out of bed USSR Ministry of Culture Men’s Choir

This isn’t what gets me up everyday, you have to understand, but recently I was given a CD by the USSR Ministry of Culture Men’s Choir. I don’t know much about it at all, but it’s got this really heavy sounding choir music on it. It doesn’t exactly make me get out of bed, but it makes me feel somehow better about getting up.

Track that makes you dance “Jus’ a Rascal” Dizzee Rascal (2003)

On our last tour, to get into the mood to play we always used to have a pregig disco in the dressing room. I really recommend this to any band if you’re on a hard tour. Anyway, this song is the one that used to get us dancing — it’s quite stupid, but it’s a very good song too.

Track you wish you’d written “Ever Fallen in Love?” The Buzzcocks (1978)

An amazing song. Partly because it sounds so effortless. It’s short, concise and it contains every element of a great song. And then there’s also the sentiment. Everyone’s been there, haven’t they?

British Sea Power’s “Do You Like Rock Music?” is out now on FAEC.