Kill The Captains

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