Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly - Searching For The Hows and Whys

Edmund Townend 27/03/2008

Rating: 3.5/5

Searching for the Hows and Whys reinforces the already common knowledge that Sam Duckworth is a brilliant songwriter and lyricist. Another great aspect of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly's new album is its nod to the play-through-ability lost to the new shuffled MP3 technology of the 21st Century. The two opening songs from his second album 'Let the Journey Begin' and 'Waiting for the Monster to Drown' show an immediate grab and pull in for any listener. They're both upbeat and dense; a definite, definable change in his new material. 'Young and Lovestruck' then keeps the pace up but calmer and, unsurprisingly, warms the heart with a joyous devoted love song.

Get Cape's first album 'Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager' was renowned for its simplicity in recording, but depth of sound combining electronic and acoustic melodies and it's expected after the naive first album for a change of style. The depth is still there and reinforced by far more live instruments and intertwining melodies and harmonies. Sam's witty and complex lyrics remain as well, for example in the politically inclined fifth track 'The Children Are (The Consumers of) The Future' he sings “The rustling of plastic is the universal sound/From Greenwich to Greenwich, from dollars to pounds”. Track 7 'I Could Build You a Tower' however does grate, despite well-produced drum loops and instrumental swells. The intended provocative lyrics are blunt and the samples of newsreaders irritate the song.

Get Cape's guitar playing has also stepped up a level, with various overdubs and interesting percussive techniques (heard previously on his cover of Justice's 'D.A.N.C.E.'). Throughout the album, there is an even share of intricate melodies from the guitar and accompaniment, but normally it is easy to strip away all but voice and guitar and the song still prevails interestingly. The fast drumbeats that accompany many of the songs fit surprisingly well with the calm of acoustic guitar. The electronic beeps so common on the first album are still in place, but more often than not are replaced by sweeping collective violin breaks.

Sam's songs have become a lot more personal than in his previous outing (he expresses in The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager (Part 2) 'This is the most anyone will ever hear about my personal life'). Especially in songs such as 'Moving Forward' and the subtle addition of Kate Nash in 'Better Things' (a song about sex, drugs and rock & roll that plays nowhere near the clichés), Sam opens up letting his personal emotions, and not just beliefs, show through. The latter is a seemingly pretentious song about denial of a groupie; however, it is apparent that Sam is attacking rock stars taking advantage of their fans.

There isn't much to experiment with when the basis for songs is an acoustic guitar and so eventually it is clear to say that the basics of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly's sound hasn't changed, but the studio-produced effects added have. With huge experience gained however, it shows through in the majority of Sam's new material and it still shows that he is one of the most interesting modern songwriters in popular music. His musical style and influences have yet to waver, and his lyrical outbursts are a step-up from his debut. However, maybe his turn to really fly is still to come.