[20 September 2009]
The only thing worse than being ignored is to be heard and labelled “just another”. My Sad Captains are definitely candidates for this dubious honor as wet-behind-the-ears progenitors of faintly melancholic twee pop. One listen to the band’s debut LP, Here & Elsewhere, will find you glibly ticking off the regulation jangly guitars, cowbells, horns, strings, ukulele, and picture-perfect harmonies. The Captains even have the cardigans and endearing modesty to match. At the very least, the band succeeds in making you pine for a biscuit and a glass of warm milk before bedtime; however, it would be churlish to deny this London quintet’s accomplished musicianship and tightness shot through with all-cards-on-table lyricism.
Fronted by bespectacled singer-guitarist Ed Wallis, whose soporific cooing is equal parts Alexis Taylor and Albert Hammond Jr., the Captains bear the twinkle of Hammond Jr. (circa Yours to Keep), the delicacy and doo-wop playfulness of Yo La Tengo plus a smidgen of Wilco. My Sad Captains tamper with conventional song structures within the pop framework with aplomb, as on “Hello Bears” and “Troika”. Here & Elsewhere might not steer twee-ness out of the woodlands, but when you have something that could soundtrack a wistful Super 8 home movie, only the most jaded will resist it.