Saturday, 13 September 2008

Album Review: Captain Yange – Compos Mentis

Review by Steve Dean

I have always maintained that Captain Yange have a sound that distinguishs them from anybody else much in the same way as Queen were instantly recognisable no matter what they played. Queen were obviously astronomically better known, but if Yange maintain the standard demonstrated here, it can only be a matter of time before they make a major breakthrough themselves.

Their general musical profile is made up of many influences, not to mention the odd exotic Eastern rhythm, but none continually strong enough to say that Captain Yange actually sound exactly like or overdo any one of them. However, part of the fun of this album is when the odd obvious influence suddenly blushes out from the speakers and grabs your attention instantly.

Beginning with a great beat and commercial (to my mind) as it gets, the Beatle-ish and vaguely Oriental-sounding ‘Vex machine’ leads us into a veritable banquet of diverse styles, fresh ideas, unusual chord shapes and colourfully abstract musical forms that permeate the entire well-produced and deftly arranged album. Not to mention some great lyrics throughout.

As a brief synopsis of some of the thirteen songs on offer here; ‘Fuse’ and ‘Sticks of Dynamite’, excellent tunes both, are extremely heavy without being metal, whilst ‘Chemical’ has shades of Bach without being classical. ‘Verbal Laxatives’ has a terrific Rolling Stones-ish opening riff to it, whilst ‘We are Electric’ has a slinky Chilli Peppers feel; although neither of the songs actually sound like those bands. ‘Missing You’ has the most fantastic rumbling bass and drum riff, while last song ‘Space Age Devotee’ sounds almost genteel after all that goes before it. There is not a dud song on the album.

I have to reserve a special mention for the fabulously atmospheric ‘Calmoceans’; quite simply one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.

As a debut album, it is hard to fault and I’m told it will be available as a free download; with a higher quality download available through iTunes, Amazon and Napster (prices will vary) and as a CD with an 8-page booklet (probably £10 or thereabouts).

Get a listen!

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