In many ways British Sea Power are a band that one feels compelled to like just by focusing on the image they have created. A fondness for woodland surroundings on the stage, each member known by a single name and obsessions with World War I imagery and Ordnance Surveys. Yet despite a number of EP releases over the last two years they could be pushing their luck without releasing an album until now. All worries should be set aside though, because the enigmatic foursome have conjured up a splendid album that lives up to expectations. Barely five minutes into proceedings and already the first three tracks have been and gone; a chant followed by two speedy new wave/punk style tracks whose choppy guitars are matched by Yan's staccato vocals. 'Remember Me' and 'Fear Of Drowning' sum up their more anthemic side which are all well and good but the main ingredient of 'The Decline Of...' are fantastic slices of melancholic, very English-sounding pop that compare favourably with the songwriting of Morrissey/Marr. In particular, the triple whammy of 'The Lonely', 'Carrion' and 'Blackout' are blessed with the right amounts of tenderness, intensity, romance and sadness that make the finest post-punk bands so valuable. The nation should be proud of them.