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Sounds Mean

One of the best sets at Peace in the Park 2011 was the slightly proggy, very mathy and extremely enjoyable noise of Kill The Captains. I purchased Fun Anxiety from the band once the gig was over and played a couple of tracks in both podcasts and live sessions. Then they disappeared.

Not a single year passed when strange rumblings from the Graveyard of Bands were detected - a jam session, uploaded on their Soundcloud. Was this a tease or the last kick of a drowning man? It’s 2013 and out of that magic hat called 2fly Studios comes a fresh album, Sounds Mean.

‘Umami’ opens the album and a red flag flies - a more polished sound. But worry not, because this isn’t pop at all. Under that shiny and fluffy pop sheep skin, a mean wolf that’s been sniffing glue and eating nutmeg seeds by the dozen awaits. ‘Umami’ seemed like a harmless ditty, but it’s just the leaves concealing a pit trap that will take you to another world.

Songs like ‘Refutenic’ and ‘The Taking Of’ sound almost normal, but you know there’s something unnerving there. It’s much clearer in the jazz-light moments that appear with much braggadocio, like in ‘Nowbiter’ or the very dreamy ‘Safety Words’. All these tracks hint at the webs that Kill the Captains weave with much gusto.

They have a very energetic show, where the possibilities of a sweet jam that mixes math rock and jazz with psychedelic vocals can and will happen. Two moments in Sounds Mean capture this - ‘Share the Load’ and ‘Disco Nazi’. ‘Share the Load’ embraces the concept of movements, switching from a jazzy opening to a rock-heavy middle to an unhinged explosion that makes both the band and the production values shine like a pulsar.

‘Share the Load’ prepares you to ‘Disco Nazi’, the clear prime cut of this collection. Starting out with a loud atmosphere, the song embraces a steady rhythm with a sense of urgency fuelled by a punchy bass line and panicky vocal delivery. The song will get loud, disconcerting and will make you tap your foot.

With all the calmer moments of Sounds Mean, Kill The Captains have managed to keep their edgier moments wisely hidden to the precise moment to strike hard. And boy, do they do hit hard. Well sharp sword, that one.

by Now Then Sheffield