ALBUM REVIEWS


Kill The Captains
SOUNDS MEAN
ARMELLODIE RECORDS 12.8.13
@www.vanguard-online.co.uk



We’ve loved Kill The Captains from afar since their early releases (an EP and an album) and Sounds Mean does not disappoint, though it signals another leap for them – one to a slightly more straight forward approach. Quirks abound still and opener, Umami, is not about what you thought; the extra taste, the one that lurks in stilton and other yummy things. “Been sick in my mouth / can’t stand the taste of it / blue cheese and broccoli”. Digging at an unpleasant over-privileged diner, rooty tooty organ and poking guitar add a circus freak oddness half-way through. Hymming and crooning and keening about a flavour for over five minutes sets the scene. Next up, Refutenic is an aggressive-sounding assault. With the relentless repetitiveness of an early Fall backline, The Trial takes a sarky line with corporate consumer language. Share The Load has a bubbly guitar figure and goes for art-rock lyrics with a very XTC lilt (look it up if you don’t remember the early eighties). It builds into a psyche-workout / breakdown that segues through the debris into the single, Disco Nazi, which has a nicely thumping bass and a dystopian vision of the DJ from hell, fleshed out with a relentless guitar figure. A change of pace with The Taking Of is a chance for a sort-of-pause. Nowbiter is steady at first but a wee bit unsettling then it gets loud and hammering. Safety Words closes the set with a sweet, crooning, jangling paean to sado-masochism – sounds like Edwyn Collins as a kinky sex slave.

I love the way this band likes to use both sides of the stereo channel with little regard for the niceties of a sonic soundstage. Not only does it highlight the continual flow of ideas but it’ll make headphone users dizzy or freaked-out. With eight songs over forty-two minutes, each has ample space for instrumental interplay and exploration. It makes for a developed and mature album that bears repeated re-listening, sometimes straight away.

Last time we felt the band tasted of sherbet and liquorice and that’s still the case. A quirky and accomplished band, they seem to be locked into unusual flavours and have a fullness of ideas that suggests long hours playing and listening carefully. Capable of psychedelic wig-outs, Kill The Captains keep it tight but give themselves enough space to show off quite a bit. This band deserves your adoration.


Ross McGibbon

www.killthecaptains.co.uk