July 31, 2006
Apparently British groups really do pose falling out of red phone booths. A week ago they didn't exist and now, ta-dah, there is Captain, a new five-piece band. First "tipped" by Paul, Torr and Kulpop (hey, I am a happy sheep these days), Captain's brilliant 5-starr debut album is called This is Hazelville. Out 8/14, it was produced by the esteemed Trevor Horn, in the afterglow of his Pet Shop Boys success (and, before that, a sparkly Belle And Sebastian CD). That Horn took this unknown group on borad - see what I did there!? - should tell you something about the quality of the songwriting.
Formed in Cambridge just over a year ago, Captain is highly melodic British pop, with layers of instrumentation (similar to the sound used on the title track of Camera Obscura's 2006 album) and energetic vocal harmonies. They've been compared to Prefab Sprout, but there is a large dose of Deacon Blue - if louder - and even some XTC vocalisms in the lead singer. I'd describe the whole sound as orchestrated rather than played.
There's a great history of British groups with male lead singers backed by a chiming female voice, in this case songwriter Rik Flynn volleying with Clare Szembek. Think of the aforementioned Prefab and Deacon, along with The Beautiful South and current groups like Stars and The Modern.
Their 11-track album is preceded by a new single, out this week, called "Glorious" and it is. It's backed by an amazing track called "Spring Park Hotel" (link below) because Captain are one of those prolific bands like Keane that throw away brilliant tracks on b-sides.
In the meantime, you can watch previous single "Broke" below (note their very 80's troubadour look!). That track has the classic Trevor Horn trick of saving most of its goodies for the final minute -it really explodes at 2:17, just after the bridge.
Download "Broke" MP3 and "Spring Park Hotel" MP3 expired
Hear additional tracks, including Glorious on their myspace
Posted by xolondon