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The BPA (Brighton Port Authority) - I Think We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

The BPA, I Think We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THROUGHOUT the 1970’s, somewhere in Brighton, a loose collective known as The BPA was hosting 48-hour warehouse parties and producing a series of tracks with passing musicians that became a part of musical legend.

Within the seafront HQ of the Brighton Port Authority, (originally styled the Brighton Phonographic Authority) chairman Norman Cook, later to find international fame under Fatboy Slim, and cohort Simon Thornton were at the hub of a set of recordings that inadvertently created the roots of punk, acid house, trip hop and many other now accepted genres.

Cut forward 30 odd years, and following the slow disbandment throughout the 80’s of The BPA in a series of half remembered recriminations and long forgotten fall-outs, 2008 saw the tapes re-appear during construction of luxury flats on the Brighton sea front.

What is revealed is an album that was and still is light years ahead of not just its time but the times in which we now live. Across the 12 tracks now immediately recognisable names such as David Byrne, Dizzee Rascal, Ashley Beedle and Justin Robertson join a host of new up and comers such as Emmy The Great and Cagedbaby. The result is pretty darn essential and amazingly eclectic.

I Think We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat, in reference to seminal ’70s movie Jaws, is brimming with great songs, some of which arrive with the definite Norman Cook stamp; others which buck the trend to sound completely different, but no less vital.

Album opener, He’s Frank kicks things off splendidly, featuring the gravel-throated vocals of Iggy Pop. It’s a funky slice of psychadelic rock that, well, rocks. And it’s already found massive US notoriety by virtue of its placement on the Heroes soundtrack last year.

Thereafter, the tracks are varied and mostly fine. Pete York endears on the scuzzy Dirty Sheets, Ashley Beedle wraps his vocals around an impossibly chirpy back-beat and electronic section that’s pure Fatboy Slim, and Justin Robertson excels on the comedown classic that is Island – more Moby than Fatboy Slim, but soothing nonetheless.

Jamie T lends his support to the bass-driven footstomper that is Local Town, a song that soundchecks New Order, while Emmy The Great lays down some sublimely dreamy vocals over album highlight Seattle, one of the best tracks you’re likely to hear this year, and perfect for putting you into a relaxed state of bliss.

Martha Wainwright gets to “woohoo” beautifully over the calypso-dripping Spade, Simon Thornton gets husky on the lamentful Superman, a wickedly hip subversion of the superhero ideology (“I’m not that good at this…”), and Cagedbaby help to turn Superlover into another wicked LP favourite – laidback, dreamy, romantic… lovely.

David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal, meanwhile, trade vocal style in wonderful fashion for the blast of frivolous energy that is Toe Jam, a real hip-shaking, toe-tapping workout that’ll drive you giddy with gleeful abandon, complete with arms in the air, sing-along sentiments such as “every day is fucking perfect”. A summer anthem in waiting for ’09? We think so.

Finally, Olly Hite draws the album to a close with the jazzy, snappy, hammond-laden So It Goes, to make you glad that those tapes from the ’70s were re-discovered, dusted off and thrust into our music stratosphere. The BPA are great… and not even an album dud like Jumps The Fence can dissuade us from shouting otherwise. Buy it.

Download picks: He’s Frank, Toe Jam, Seattle, Superman, Superlover, Island, So It Goes

Track listing:

  1. He’s Frank – BPA & Iggy Pop
  2. Dirty Sheets – BPA & Pete York
  3. Jumps The Fence – BPA & Connan Mockasin
  4. Should I Stay Or Should I Blow – BPA & Ashley Beedle
  5. Island – BPA & Justin Robertson
  6. Local Town – BPA & Jamie T
  7. Seattle – BPA & Emmy The Great #
  8. Spade – BPA & Martha Wainwright
  9. Superman – BPA & Simon Thornton
  10. Superlover – BPA & Cagedbaby
  11. Toe Jam – BPA & David Byrne/Dizzee Rascal
  12. So It Goes – BPA & Olly Hite