Valhalla Dancehall - British Sea Power
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Jan 11, 2011
    83
    That simplicity doesn't translate to the music-which continues to pile on the backing choirs, electronic squiggles, and never-ending ethereal builds-but Valhalla adds an even more alluring undertow to the band's usual crashing wave.
  2. Feb 2, 2011
    80
    With Valhalla Dancehall, it's time to laud British Sea Power for attaining greatness strictly on their own terms. [Feb. 2011, p. 116]
  3. 80
    British Sea Power are bravely bringing beauty into an increasingly ugly world, whether that world wants it or not. They ought to be given a medal. For valour. For Valhalla.
  4. Jan 6, 2011
    80
    Valhalla Dancehall is more subtle than that suggests, its careening songs coalescing to an understated concept.
  5. Jan 10, 2011
    74
    Like their forebears The Kinks, British Sea Power remain resolutely iconoclastic, supremely melodic, quintessentially British, and utterly unique. God save the Queen and her royal navy.
  6. For most of Valhalla Dancehall, the diversity in sound works to British Sea Power's advantage, but it also leaves the album feeling weirdly unsatisfying.
  7. Dec 19, 2011
    70
    Like all BSP records, Valhalla Dancehall aims for the nosebleed section while remaining oddly detached.
  8. Jan 24, 2011
    70
    The downside is that their understandable fear of becoming just another indie band leads them into too many changes of direction. Just having great tunes has never been enough.
  9. Jan 11, 2011
    70
    Splicing the spirit of ancient Viking alcoholics with some red-hot Jamaican jah, BSP are finally having fun.
  10. Jan 11, 2011
    70
    They're always willing to invest on either side of the coin, driven to earn their place inside the majestic hall.
  11. Jan 7, 2011
    70
    Enough of Valhalla Dancehall's moments work surprisingly well, that despite its breadth and occasionally aggravating density, it becomes a spectacle worth experiencing.
  12. Jan 7, 2011
    70
    Some will decry Valhalla Dancehall's essential familiarity, but on their fourth album proper British Sea Power are a band unique, complex and confident enough in their own right to remind us why we loved them in the first place whilst making modest refinements to their sound.
  13. Jan 6, 2011
    70
    Strident, guitar-oriented bravado still carries the band through much of Valhalla Dancehall. [Year End 2010, p.68]
  14. Jan 11, 2011
    63
    The constants are there; the group come off as authentic in their earnestness, even with lyrics ("I love your celebrity/the VPL in the SUV") that might look slipshod on paper. But no new ground is being broken.
  15. Apr 12, 2011
    60
    Pugnacious indie squares up to all-comers. [Feb. 2011, p. 106]
  16. Jan 27, 2011
    60
    The biggest flaw: the band attempts to cram too many ideas into a song (Cleaning Out The Rooms), particularly in the album's second half.
  17. Jan 24, 2011
    60
    The tunes remain no more exotic than a British cottage pie, and all the meat and potatoes that entails. [Feb 2011, p.79]
  18. Jan 14, 2011
    60
    After the irresistible, overblown and quite possibly inadvertent brilliance of Do You Like Rock Music?, Valhalla Dancehall feels like a predictable and not entirely satisfying return to form. British Sea Power may be getting too smart for their own good.
  19. 60
    Valhalla Dancehall is more of the same from British Sea Power, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but the band has done most of it before in a more memorable fashion. Nevertheless, fans of British Sea Power will likely find their visit to Valhalla Dancehall an enjoyable one.
  20. Jan 24, 2011
    59
    It's to British Sea Power's credit that Valhalla Dancehall seems far less concerned with mainstream sermonizing than their last full length, opting to indulge in the off-kilter charm that drew us to them in the first place
  21. Jan 12, 2011
    55
    As long as British Sea Power continue to exist on their singular plane, it's easy to admire and probably overrate them for their ambition.
  22. Jan 12, 2011
    50
    For the consummate BSP fan, Valhalla Dancehall will likely be met as a sufficient new entry in the band's growing discography, but for a fella like me on the periphery, I'll need a lot more of the standout experimentation of Living Is So Easy to convince me.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Jan 16, 2011
    9
    "Valhalla Dancehall" should finally give them the recognition they really deserve. They are in the same league with Arcade Fire but unfortunately BSP remain one of the most underrated bands of the last 10 years!Everyone should go to their party and enjoy the magic "Valhalla Dancehall" brings.Loving them is so easy... Full Review »
  2. Jan 19, 2011
    10
    In a nutshell, this album is their finest to date. Better than their Mercury-nominated 'Do You Like Rock Music'. Better than 'The Decline of British Sea Power.' Yes, it really is that good. If you have ever enjoyed a BSP gig, or a BSP song, you simply must own this album. It is their meisterwerk. Full Review »
  3. Jan 21, 2011
    10
    Fantastic album from a wonderful band. Several reviews are not represented by Metacritic so I've listed some extra ones below. This album is a stonker! "Divine... Time to laud British Sea Power for attaining greatness strictly
    on their own terms." **** Q magazine. "Devastatingly beautiful... a thickening and diversification of the band's
    sound." **** The Sunday Times. "Big and clever... Their well of tuneful passion appears bottomless." The
    Word. "Heart-hammering exuberance, mighty waves of sound and crashing
    crescendos." **** The Daily Mirror. "An idiosyncratic state-of-nation address... incandescent." **** The
    Financial Times. "BSP look to the past not to in weak nostalgia, but to spur a dispirited
    present. Brawling... brainy... invigorating." The Independent. "Glorious unpredictability taken to new stratosphere-spanning extremes... A
    triumph." **** The Fly. "Captivating contrasts between the dreamy, the raucous and the vividly
    weird." **** The Metro of London town. "The album's strongest moments are the sound of a band reaching a creative
    zenith, a decade's worth of internal and external exploration writ large.
    Valhalla Dancefloor confirms British Sea Power's status as cast-iron
    national treasures." The Quietus website.
    Full Review »