Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Capitals - A National Service

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

There are bands out there who don't aim for commercial success. Sometimes this is because the music they like isn't commercially viable, sometimes this is through a lack of confidence and sometimes it's through principle alone. However, any band trotting out the infamous cliche of "we just make music for ourselves and if anyone else likes it then that's just a bonus" are generally talking bollocks. Bands want to be liked, they want to have fans of their music, even if they're making a DIY din and are only expecting a small audience to get what they do, they still want that. Very few bands or musicians in history go out of their way to alienate everyone. Edinburgh duo Capitals clearly want people to like their music, but they also don't want to compromise what they do; they don't want to sell-out.

How to do this has been the point of many discussions over the years. What Capitals have done for their debut album 'A National Service' is write songs, good songs, songs they like, but have made sure that there are enough aspects here to allow a wide appeal. This isn't the type of music that will have Adele quaking in her boots; Capitals make electro-indie, something which we've seen a vast increase in since people realised that landfill indie was called that for a reason. Delphic almost managed to make it work and achieved minor chart success, Friendly Fires did well but are currently missing in action, the biggest of the lot has been the word-of-mouth success of Two Door Cinema Club. It's not unrealistic to think of Capitals as TDCC's older brothers, they make a similar sound but with just a touch more class and perhaps not quite as commercial.

'A National Service' definitely gives these guys a fighting chance of building a similar word-of-mouth fanbase and becoming an actual proper success. Everything on this album would sound fine on a daytime radio playlist, particularly upbeat numbers like 'Hello World', the ticking, anthemic alt-pop of 'The Grace', hit-in-waiting 'A Spectre Is haunting Europe' or the pounding, grinding 'The Hollowing'. Previous singles 'All These Years', 'Sinking Ships' and 'Jealousy' still sound great too. The production is just glossy enough to leave the soul of the songs intact and the consistency is here, meaning that over time there's a high possibility of a steady sales stream as the word spreads. Capitals have managed to create the music they like and present it in a way that could provide a winning formula. Just maybe they'll become something approaching a household name over the next year or so. Time will tell but we're certainly not ruling it out.

Capitals' website

Stream or buy the album

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