King Capisce - Self-Titled

Owain Paciuszko 08/01/2011

Rating: 4/5

Opening with delicious bass from Roshan Lal, accompanied by rollicking energetic drum rolls from Tom Ashfield, and then Richard Harrison's saxophone adding a certain special sauce to the whole mix, complimented brilliantly by Tim Feben's guitar; it's immediately clear that King Capsice know how to structure a song to make the most of their particular instrumental elements and across the rest of the seven minute Cheer Up Cyclops they ebb and flow nicely, moving from the scatty jazzy explosions into soulful and noir-like asides. It's a gloriously exploratory and ramshackle start to this record, lurching into instrumental choruses filled with anticipation and wonder, ending on a smooth and seductive note with a swagger similiar to Roxy Music.

Catastrophic Sex Music is a raucous tumble of jangly guitars, bubbling bass, whilst the drums stagger, stopping and starting with erratic abandon and the saxophone bounds about with a drunken recklessness; all lending itself rather aptly to the song's title. Meanwhile The Rift has a post-rock alt-country vibe, the saxophone nudging on harmonica, and Lal's bass soft and contemplative, driving the track with a cautious, curious pace. As the tempo gradually increases the song evolves into a slightly frantic jazzy anthem, bassline pounding triumphantly, its hard not to think of Radiohead's Kid A at times.

It doesn't all work though, The Sharp End is a lengthy, spacey wig-out that feels somewhat half-baked and not nearly as deliriously imaginative as other tracks here; it is, on the one hand, the sound of a band clearly comfortable riffing off of one another, but, as Spinal Tap proved, free form jazz improvisations are not always fun for the listening audience. It finds some energy near the end, but it lacks the thrills of their other musical explosions. It creeps into the sparse, sinister sound of Diallelus, creaking guitar lines over crackling sound samples.

Between Teeth leaps off of a looped, heart-monitor-like sample and has a similar vibe to the soundtracks of John Murphy (Sunshine, 28 Days Later) to begin with, before it springboards into the ether with a combination of wide-eyed wonder and exotic imagery conjured up by the musical arrangment, momentum increasing as the track continues with all the fury and mystery of Clint Mansell's work on The Fountain; lent an aggessive edge by Feben's guitar and Lal's bass. Elsewhere ... is a rowdy number, that climaxes with a wurlitzer of aggressively strummed guitar and lolloping saxophone to dizzying effect.

Penultimate track i - Boundless and closing track ii - Reprise are a mellow combination, a dreamy sci-fi wall of sound with Ashfield's drums racing along at a contrasting but invigorating tempo. It climaxes as a buoyant and optimistic ascent of beautifully hopeful saxophone playing around uniform guitar, bass and drum, before finishing with a sombre section that, at the last minute, turns into a splashy little eruption of sound that sounds like U2 going post-rock and ends the LP standing proudly and defiantly, cocksure and energized; which - in turn - leaves the listener eager to hear more.

A fun, creative and wild LP, that's arranged brilliantly and - for the most part - wraps the listener up in its world, and it's a shame when you have to return to reality.