Kill the Captains – Sounds Mean (Armellodie Records)

Kill the Captains – Sounds Mean (Armellodie Records)


Following their 2010 debut album, Fun Anxiety, new-wave pop act Kill the Captains attempt to recapture the shoegazing krautrock sounds of the late ’80s/early ’90s with their latest release, Sounds Mean.  Labelling their sound as “platform shoegazing”, the Sheffield-based quintet begin the album with the nonsensically drab Umami‘, a soft indie track that despite being very radio friendly, lacks any real bite or potency to triumphantly welcome the listener. Seemingly aware of this despondent intro, the band changes tempo with the grinding bass driven Refutenic’. Though the drum work is a little under produced, this low-slung groove is the real first glance at what the group are capable of musically with frontman Leon Carter emitting twice the passion in his delivery as the previous track making for a much more interesting listen.

Glittery guitar laden Share the Load’ does well not to become a reworking of The StranglersGolden Brown’, as creeping sinister guitar riffs transform the song into an entirely different beast, one that is full of danger and dark shadows worthy of a much more boisterous vocal performance rather then Carter’s weak “mockney” accent. ‘Disco Nazi’ is a spine-chilling psychedelic science fiction ride that sounds as though it were concocted inside a mad scientists laboratory. Crawling with screeching guitar inflections and distorted Primus inspired bass tones, the song hints at something greater approaching around the corner. Unfortunately that something never arrives and the song is left to fizzle out on its own accord.

This becomes a somewhat commonplace theme throughout the album with tracks such as The Trial’ and the wearily forgettable ‘The Taking Of’ both lacking in any real spice or vigor to maintain any kind of momentum. That said, penultimate track Nowbiter’ stands out as the Captains’ saving grace with its heavier, dark yet progressive chord structure lending towards a mature sexy punk swagger that the album desperately needed. Carter’s voice however is incredibly distracting throughout, contributing very little and effectively diluting the intended idea. The album closes with Safety Words’, an effectively well-crafted track that sits along a thrumming bass line ending things on a relatively positive note.

As a whole, Sounds Mean does very little to spark any fires, memorable mainly for its extended instrumental outros that allude to bigger things yet subsequently fall at the last hurdle. Moments of inspiration are few and far between with much of the music appearing too grand and ostentatious for frontman Carter’s voice to manage, sadly undercutting the bands chances at future success.


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