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KILL THE CAPTAINS Fun Anxiety Armellodie ARM11CD (2010)

Kill The Captains

You do wonder about both the band's name and the album title. Kill The Captains might be taken as an exhortation to independent thought and action. And given some of the doomy and eclectic lyrics on this album that may well be the case. The album title is equally poignant. The songs deal with various neuroses, hidden motives, unspoken tensions and subjects and ideas from the other side of the fence!

Taking both together there's the kind doom and gloom that Ian Curtis and Morrissey brought to bear on their music. And yet Kill The Captains offer more than mere po-faced deliberations. Indeed this is a band for who different ambient moods and audio tensions can express nearly as much as the clever word plays that populate four pages of their CD booklet.

Listen for example to the unlikely long intro of 'Yellow Brush' with its dense unrelenting dark guitar chords which are almost as intense as the album's art work. The crashing cymbals and subsequent descending drone is the only concession to a tension resolution before the vocals expressively elongate a few vowels over a tic-toc rhythm track. As with much of this album it is the combination of clever couplets and angular guitar work with layered moods and a brace of instrumental links that make the whole more accessible than the sum of its parts.

'Fun Anxiety' doesn't so much tap into a stream of consciousness as offer a patchwork of stuttering melodies, angular guitar lines, ambient moods and clever lyrics. You take from it what you will, because there is much on offer, but not necessarily in the usual chronological format you might expect.

The dense chords and feverish change of pace on the opening 'Santino' for example, creates a sense of impending doom and claustrophobia. And the atmosphere is revisited in part on the instrumental 'Missing Canoeist', albeit the latter adds some stolen fractured Beefheart guitar lines. But contrary to expectations 'Fun Anxiety' works up some snappy pop rhythms on 'Spot the Leopard', adds hints of a waltz style pastoral outing on 'Clovers' and even veers into the New Wave territory on the single 'Rummy', which in a previous generation might have been covered by The Police.

But staying in the present, the band dig deeper into their angst ridden recess for the apocalyptic narration of 'Cellar Dweller' - all pessimistic lyrics over a drum led groove - before the more measured 'Harper's Call' end-piece.

'Fun Anxiety' is a tad too eclectic and a little too dense to completely satisfy, but there are several moments of real presence when it all comes together splendidly, bubbles up and breaks through the drone led landscapes to mesmerising effect.


Review by Pete Feenstra


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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