Sep 15, 2021
By Mark Redfern
Sea Power (who were formerly known as British Sea Power, but recently shortened their name partially due to “a rise in a certain kind of nationalism in this world”) have shared a video for their recent single “Two Fingers” and announced some 2022 UK tour dates. The song is taken from their upcoming album, Everything Was Forever, which is due out February 11, 2022 via the band’s own label Golden Chariot. Check out the video and tour dates below.
The band’s Jan Scott Wilkinson directed and edited the “Two Fingers” video, which features footage from around the world presented in a split screen manner. In a press release Wilkinson describes the video as an “ambiguous and open-minded exploration of footage from around the world. Both celebratory and fearful. A collage of moving images striving to overcome a narrative free emptiness.”
The band collectively and previously had this to say about the name change in a statement on their website: “After much reflection and soul-searching, the band formerly known as British Sea Power have modified their name to simply Sea Power. We’ve been British Sea Power for 20 years—an amazing 20 years, when we’ve been able to continually traverse the British Isles, to travel the world, encountering many friendly faces, not least in the band’s remarkable audience. But the name British Sea Power had come to feel constricting, like an ancient legacy we were carrying with us. When we came up with the name British Sea Power there were at least two different lines of thought behind it. There was, literally, sea power—the elementary power of the oceans. Alongside this was the historical idea of ‘British sea power’—Britannia ruling the waves; the naval power that once allowed Britain to dominate the world. When we came up with the original band name, Britain no longer ruled the seas. The band name was intended with a kind of wry humor. The idea of British sea power in the historical sense was an obsolete thing. It was now just the name of a rock band… Now, 20 years later, we’re recasting the name. In recent times there’s been a rise in a certain kind of nationalism in this world—an isolationist, antagonistic nationalism that we don’t want to run any risk of being confused with. It’s become apparent that it’s possible to misapprehend the name British Sea Power, particularly if someone isn’t familiar with the band or their recordings. We’ve always been internationalist in our mindset, something made clear in songs like Waving Flags, an anthem to pan-European idealism. We always wanted to be an internationalist band but maybe having a specific nation state in our name wasn’t the cleverest way to demonstrate that. We very much hope the band’s audience won’t be affronted by this adjustment to the name. We’d like to make it clear that removing the word ‘British’ does NOT indicate any aversion to the British Isles whatsoever. We all feel immensely fortunate to have grown up in these islands. Several or our songs are filled with love and awe for this place. We do love these lands. We all still live within the British Isles, but we are now just Sea Power. We feel the name change comes in part from the band’s audience—who at a good show will shout out, ‘Sea Power! Sea Power!’ Maybe this name change has been there for years, shouted in our ears. It’s just taken us this long to realize—to hear what was there in front of us…”
Sea Power feature Jan Scott Wilkinson (vocals/guitars), Neil Hamilton Wilkinson (vocals/guitars), Martin Noble (guitars), Matthew Wood (drums), Abi Fry (viola), and Phil Sumner (keyboards/cornet).
Of “Two Fingers” Yan had this to say in a previous press release: “The song is part inspired by our late dad. He was always giving a two-fingered salute to people on the telly—a kind of old-fashioned drinking term, toasting people or events: ‘I’ll drink two fingers to that,’ to some news item or to memories of a childhood friend. In the song it’s a toast to everyone, remembering those in our lives and those sadly no longer here and to making the world a better place. The song is ‘F*** me, f*** you, f*** everything.’ But it’s also ‘Love me, love you, love everything’—exultation in the darkness. If you say ‘f*** you’ in the right way, it really can be cathartic, a new start.”
Yan adds: “It’s maybe interesting that the song mentions nightmare monsters from the world of HP Lovecraft. This song has been around a little while, partly because of the big interruption of Covid. Between the song being written and the album being finished, the TV series Lovecraft Country was broadcast—which took the supernatural Lovecraft and ran it alongside 1950s America and Lovecraft’s racism. He was a terrible racist, a white supremacist, which is why his world is there in the song, like anti-matter—something full of horror and mankind at its worst. But, alongside the negative forces in the song, there’s also a strong hopeful intent, a desire to start anew. Beyond that, the track has influences that are just inspirin—David Lynch, Cold War Steve, the Sex Pistols, Joe Meek’s Telstar, the beauty of isolated landscapes.”
Sea Power’s last album (released as British Sea Power of course) was 2017’s Let the Dancers Inherit the Party.
Sea Power UK Tour Dates:
Tuesday 12 – 1865, Southampton
Wednesday 13 – O2 Institute 2, Birmingham
Thursday 14 – Roundhouse, London
Tuesday 19 – O2 Academy, Bristol
Thursday 21 – Leadmill, Sheffield
Friday 22 – St Lukes, Glasgow
Saturday 23 – Albert Hall, Manchester