Saturday, 18 October 2008

Captive State- 'Elmore Grove EP' (22/9/08 Genuine Records)

Do you miss the Beta Band? This might be an alternative for you, as on 'Mona' Captive State create a vibe very very similar to the old Scottish band. Melodies are added on top of melodies, with horns eventually thrown onto the tottering pile, a bed of acoustic rattles and synths beneath. Repetitive vocals create a transcendent feel, like you're floating, the space pop carrying you away. It almost helps you escape the grey skies and rain soaked pavements.

However, the lyrics on 'China White Doll' are like the bad kid at the back of the class, letting everyone down. Dull platitudes about a girl, full of cliches such as years/tears and sun/done and tired metaphors. It's a shame, cos the gentle acoustic lines, and lulled brass and xylophone plonk backing works brilliantly. It would be moving, particularly on the slow piano fade out, but for the stupid words.

Gloom filled electronics take over on 'Weatherman', where synths and bass dominate over the acoustics, relegated to the background. The lyrics continue to fail, with the line “he knew one day he would die” delivered with drama that it doesn't deserve. Like getting Brian Blessed to read out train times.

'Lost' returns to the feel of 'Mona', creating a bookend of intelligent pop songs that show what Captive State do best. When they stick to the bombast of orchestral glory, then the sub par nature of the lyrics can be forgiven and forgotten. Adventurousness should always be encouraged, but not if you forget to pack your backpack properly.

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