English quartet British Sea Power rocks loud and proud on the five-song Krankenhaus? EP. The first two tracks, “Atom Main” and “Down on the Ground,” will be on the band’s forthcoming third full-length, Do You Like Rock Music?, and if these two songs are any indication, the album will be a heaping helping of guitar-powered Britpop.
“Atom Main” begins with some early-Strokes guitar noodling and then overlays it with a wall of sound that propels the song to frenetic heights. The noise is underscored by periodic moments of melody that serve as a perfect exclamation point. Where “Atom Main” thunders, “Down on the Ground” goes back to territory that’s more familiar for the band. A simple guitar hook and the smooth vocals of Scott Wilkinson drive the song as it builds from the sound of the ocean to a subdued coda. Though the songs showcase different sounds, both indicate that the members of British Sea Power have been putting their studio time to good use.
The rest of the EP contains songs recorded during studio sessions for Do You Like Rock Music?. Though the purpose of Krankenhaus? is to get some early buzz for their new material, there are a few moments of fun to be had with the remainders. The first, “Hearing Aid,” is an interesting early stab at the noisier sound that was refined for “Atom Main,” and “The Pelican: Parts 1 & 2” is a catchy tune that seems indulgent when stretched to nine minutes. The final song, “Straight down the Line,” is the best of the second lot, providing a quiet counterpoint to the raucousness found elsewhere on the album.