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Captain Soul | Beat Your Crazy Head Against The Sky (Poptones)
Or alternatively stick a couple of pencils up your nose and beat your kerrazy head against the table in response to the garish Poptones packaging. On the surface these day-glo bubbles might seem like a fitting sleeve for the unabashed retro soup of, ahem, Captain Soul, but, really, the cod-psychedelia of the design is the only sniff of kitsch about Beat Your Crazy Head... Not that an absence of kitsch is anything to lament particularly, it's just that the alternative in this case is that the lads (picture them with mum-snipped mop tops and home-made loon pants) are sincere about this meat and potatoes power pop with its head stuck up the arse end of the hippy dippy 1960s. Irony may be the modern disease, but some things are crying out for it. Musically there's a lot to like about Captain Soul and its proper songwriting in a Byrds/Hollies mould, searing guitars and warm harmonies with a punchy rhythm section. At times it scales the anthemic heights trod by the best of Oasis, where you know you're being hoodwinked by this derivative stuff, but, if it works, it works. The ad hoc, if-it-rhymes-keep-it-in lyric technique is pure Gallagher-babble with a added flower power fascination. Anyone who's seen the film version of Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant lately knows how embarassing such trite Age of Aquarius platitudes can be. From a bunch of (presumably) young blokes in 2001 it's puzzling and entirely irrelevant, as anodyne and pointless as some kind of role-playing fancy dress. Perhaps I'm too bitter and twisted to be willingly seduced by the rock'n'roll naivety that Captain Soul are selling. Your Time begins with a headlong guitar rush that's seductive in its gusto before songwriter Adam Howarth's harmony-bathed vocal sings out like it's '67 again and he's barefoot en route to San Francisco. "Can you feel it in the air?" he sings. "Or in the turning of the tide?" And I confess I really can't.

Martin Williams
June-July 2001

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