Alright The Captain - Snib (Field Records)
Release date: 7 February 2011
After threatening greatness in their live shows over the past 12 months, Alright The Captain have been burrowed away writing and recording their long overdue debut full-length. The result is Snib, featuring ten tracks of technical math-rock to set pulses' racing from the get-go.
Forming the band's first assault is Rostov Could Get It, which tumbles through the speakers with an electronic crash. The urgent intro reveals a newfound aggression for the band, whose previous recordings cower in the wake of this spanking new track. The three instruments roar into action, frantic yet steadfast, before giving way to more textural compositions that existing fans will be familiar with. If you're a new listener, this will be your first lesson into the curious ways of the 'Captain - their experimental approach to songwriting means multiple personalities make an appearance, and it's usual to see several per song. But don't go cracking the medication out yet, as this is what make's the band so exciting.
Lucid moments often trade places with uncompromising urgency, turning on you like a nasty dog. Mega Mega Drive does this down to a T, as it threatens to get going for a minute or so before the beast is unleashed - the result is a belligerent assault to grab you by the core and shake you silly. Or listen to the frantic beginnings of Soundtrack Your Death - guitarist Marty Toner's quick-fingered action combines with Todd Wood's bouncy bass notes, before pulling a u-turn. And it's all usually done in three and a half minutes work.
FX and loop pedals serve to feed Alright The Captain's imaginations, allowing them to get the best out of their erratic tendencies and monstrous appetite for writing experimental rock tunes. Their knack for writing highly textural compositions is impressive, and their skills will surely have you listening in awe - whether it be Toner's inquisitive intro to Neo Toyko, where he exercises his digits with some stellar finger tapping or the incredible drum action delivered by stick-master Ash West-Mullen in #33. But it's not all urgent intricacies and bubbling aggression, Alright The Captain know how to reign it back too; the ethereal outro to Pay Off and the general laid-back nature of Clamp show just this. They contrast the harsh, abrasive moments with gentler strands in their songwriting, bringing in eclectic influences that hypnotise - quite simply, they manage to evoke the whole spectrum of emotions with their music.
Snib really demonstrates how the band has evolved since their 123.EP. They've taken their sci-fi infused sound to a whole new level - it's more aggressive than ever, more evocative than before and shows a reignited passion from all concerned. Armed only with their instruments, equipment and the occasional cry of 'Honey Badger! Honey Badger!', Alright The Captain have really come into their own. If you're looking to broaden your musical horizons, Snib is essential listening.
The verdict: 9/10
For fans of: Battles, Adebisi Shank, Aulos