New music - British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy

Indie troubadours return with a video featuring a long bike ride and a lovely Aran jumper

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Brighton-based sextet British Sea Power has always seemed brilliantly out of step with the rest of modern-day culture. Over five deeply idiosyncratic albums they've managed to maintain an air of mystery and build up a world equally influenced by literature, nature and good old-fashioned British whimsy. For Machineries of Joy, the follow-up to 2011's relatively muscular Valhalla Dancehall, the band has thankfully decided not to slip into boring rock solipsism or awkward posturing, and instead – as singer Yan explains – made an album about "Franciscan monks, ketamine, French female bodybuilders turned erotic movie stars". Obviously. "The world often seems a mad, hysterical place at the moment. You can't really be oblivious to that, but we'd like the record to be an antidote – a nice game of cards in pleasant company."

On the album's gorgeous, six-minute-long title track, which was unveiled as a radio edit last month, the band employ their knack for making everything they do sound warmly familiar, with the chorus built around the line "we are magnificent machineries of joy" – certainly a pleasingly optimistic way of looking at it. For the video – premiered here in association with – we follow a young lady in a too-hot-for-the-weather-conditions Aran jumper as she cycles down a winding country lane. It's strangely hypnotic, and as she pedals harder and up steeper inclines she starts seeing odd, bike-based sculptures come to life.

• Machineries of Joy, the album, is released on 1 April on Rough Trade.


Michael Cragg

The GuardianTramp

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