British Sea Power change name to avoid ‘antagonistic nationalism’ connotations

Six-piece now called Sea Power say ‘we do love these lands’ but added that it was possible to misapprehend their previous name

The UK band British Sea Power have changed their name to Sea Power, to avoid connotations with “isolationist, antagonistic nationalism”.

In a statement on their website, they say the original name was borne of “the elementary power of the oceans”, along with a reference to British naval supremacy made with “wry humour. 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.”

The band – based across Sussex, Cumbria and western Scotland – underlined their love for Britain: “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’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.”

Playing a strident take on indie rock, Sea Power released their debut album in 2003, and have released seven albums in all. Their biggest chart success came with 2008’s Do You Like Rock Music?, which reached No 10 in the album chart and was nominated for the Mercury prize. They have toured with bands including the Killers, and have recorded four soundtracks – the most recent, for video game Disco Elysium, won a Bafta Game award in 2020 for best music.

The sextet’s first album since 2017, Everything Was Forever, will be released in February 2022, with a single, Two Fingers, out now.

Last year, US country artists Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum changed their names to the Chicks and Lady A respectively, to avoid connotations with the antebellum era in the US south, when slavery was permitted. The US post-hardcore band Slaves – not to be confused with the British punk duo – also announced they would be changing their name last year, while voicing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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