It’s frankly magnificent that the best version of “Men Together Today” I can find is on a homemade timelapse test.
Four years ago I wasn’t a British Sea Power fan. I started listening to them properly ahead of a festival on Eigg, a festival which set the tone for most of the following years. It was dead good.
The Decline of British Sea Power doesn’t have the band’s best songs on it, but it does suffer less of the slaggy sub-manics baggage of their later efforts. It’s got lots of ideas, lots of references. Lyrically it’s the equivalent of that shot in Shut Up & Play The Hits where the camera hangs too long on James Murphy’s bookshelf. Decline is its own bibliography. It provides its own back matter and gives you a reading a listening list to go away and start absorbing.
The record has spawned holidays, deep reading, dress codes and conviction. But I’m not sure it’s my favourite album; could be this or Unknown Pleasures or Movement or Before The Dawn Heals Us or In The Aeroplane Over The Sea or Murder Park. And they’ve all done the same. In fact, next week I’m off to Barcelona, in part to see Neutral Milk Hotel play Primavera.
Anyway, “Men Together Today” is the first track on Decline. This intro – a chant the band still hum together ahead of live sets – resurfaces during “Lately”. I’m a sucker for any record that does that.