Captain - This Is Hazelville

Another week, another 80's influenced act. Though, instead of the cool side of the 80's (there didn't seem like one at the time) that has influenced the recent spate of acts, we've now got those wanting to echo the success and epic stadium filling aspects of the more commercial side of the 80's. Step up Deacon Blue, you're time is now. For all the talk about Coldplay and Keane, there isn't a band that Captain reminds me more of than good ole Deacon Blue. Perhaps a hint of the 90's The Wannadies actually as well, for good measure. Being bank rolled by EMI certainly must help and the recruitment of Trevor Horn behind the production desk has helped to bring that extra 80's sheen to proceedings as well.

So all the ingredients are there, mixing nicely in a pot of record company loveliness. They've tried to cover most of the bases for a "successful record" here; heart-felt ballads, catchy choruses, nice & safe imagery... but it just lacks any real substance. Trevor Horn's production can be one of two things; punchy and powerful (like his 80's success for Frankie Goes To Hollywood) or shiny and flaccid. I'm afraid this one is the latter. Any real edge to the tracks has been polished to meaningless. "Hazelville", the one true highlight on this record, is allowed, from its sparse and yet uplifting opening with a great guitar riff, to gently meander to an ending that makes you want to take the CD out of the player and throw it across the room. Before it peters out however, it's a great slice of radio-friendly pop-rock. The duelling vocals of Rick Flynn and Clare Szembek are perfectly complimentary, the guitar riff reminding me of not just Deacon Blue but Prefab Sprout at their pompous and chart-topping best. "Frontline", with Szembek's highly polished and ethereal vocals floating over the music, is as Radio 2 friendly as they come, but it at least has some momentum which is sadly lacking on other parts of the album.

After repeated listens you just find all the tracks merging into one sugary-sweet sticky mess. The band seems to lack a full and real identity that you can put your finger on. Whether it's Horn's fault for getting a little too clever behind the desk or it's just Captain lacking any clear cut ideas of their own, this is a disappointing record that will probably find it's way into every Mondeo in the country by Christmas.

Overall

6

out of 10

Last updated: 19/04/2018 04:44:40

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