We liked the EP but that was bloody years ago. What have Kill The Captains been doing since 2008? Making this album, that’s what. At first glance, with less psychedelic wig-out and a more user-friendly sound, KTC have rubbed off some of the rough edges. The sound is an indie one, with lots of stop-start, shift of rhythm type of stuff. Then they go and surprise the listener with Yellow Brush and it’s rock-out soundscape. Then they leave off the wiggy title track (featured on the aforementioned EP).
Are they too clever or just very clever? The opener fuses eighties sounds like Aztec Camera with a much harsher noughties sound to tell the story of a chimp flinging hand-crafted missiles at zoo visitors (and being castrated to stop his cleverness). Track two, Spot The Leopard is chugging, speedy indie, with a vintage guitar sound, very clean and lyrics full of sardonic notes. Third track, Rope, is smart as a sticker too, reminding me of agit-pop bands of the eighties again – all jangly guitar, furious rhythms and complex lyrics; “Don’t buy a weapon with a blunt edge, they’ll use you as a wet stone”. Then, as mentioned, it’s into loud-land, with a song about sex and seduction preceded by hammering riffs for a few minutes, then accompanied by delicately ticking bass and percussion. Dutch Rudder is nobbut a scrap and Clovers is a piano-led ballad. Missing Canoeist is a leftfield instrumental – practically a rock ballet. Rummy is the current single. Lebanese is a crooned, gentle piece. House Band At The Asylum is a snippet that sounds like you walk into a room of a band at full cacophony then leave and walk away into the next song – Cellar Dweller – a crzy apocalyptic religious rant. The final track has a lonely echoey acoustic guitar refrain that recalls mid-seventies Jonathan Richman in its perfect happy-to-be-sad-ness.
Musically, Kill The Captains are all over the place in terms of influences and directions, whilst clearly having assembled each song carefully. It’s an album that rewards repeated listening, new aspects appearing at each turn. It’s been recorded so each part is clear and real, emphasising the surreality of the musical rollercoaster and could well garner the kind of fanboy adulation that Radiohead built with their first album. Very clever and very winning. Tastes of sherbet and liquorice.
ARMELLODIE RECORDS 3.5.10