The Capes - Hello
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The Capes
Hello

The Capes hail from the same South London area as Bloc Party, and even shared studio space with that band while members of the groups were in school. Mixing the crisp, bouncy hooks of Franz Ferdinand with loads of old school synths, the group seems to have been influenced by everyone from Blur to Super Furry Animals. On first listen, a little bit of that post-punk edge seems to seep through, but The Capes are far too happy sounding to get lumped in with the batch of artists opting for the darker Gang Of Four influences.

Even though it will probably make some radio waves, the album opener of "Mexican Broads" is almost painfully polished. With "ba-ba" vocals and buzzy synths careening back and forth with obvious vocal harmonies, the track is just a bit too obvious. "Super Girls" follows and the group seems to lock into things a bit more with almost delirious, spiraling synth arpeggios and enough guitar and vocal hooks to have the track playing on repeat. Elsewhere, "First Base" manages to flip back and forth between playful synth solos and crunchy guitar rockout moments a slew of times in just over three minutes.

If it weren't for the mostly propulsive rhythm sections and brit vocals, one could actually compare the group to the Weezer side-project of The Rentals easily enough because of the crunchy guitars and reliance on bubbly synths. Or, as mentioned above, Franz Ferdinand with part of their guitars excised and replaced with loopy electronics (especially on the hand-clap filled "Tightly Wound"). They do throw in a few curveballs, though, and it's during these spots that the album actually is made a little stronger instead of one that's almost relentlessly spastic. "Comet Tails" mixes fuzzy guitars and Beach Boys inspired vocal harmonies. Likewise, "Faradays Cage" closes out the release by slowing things down with with more soaring vocal harmonies and some simple but effective synth melodies.

Although the group no doubt has an ear for catchy hooks, it too often feels like they're trying to pack every single moment of the release with a quick melody and or riff and at times this approach gets a bit wearing. Hearing the slightly more sparse tracks makes me wish that the group would have taken things down a notch in just a couple other places, as the album tends to blur together in large part. Considering the entire 12-track release clocks in at under forty minutes, though, it's not like the group gets stuck on anything for too long.

rating: 610
Aaron Coleman 2006-03-02 21:54:05