Captain Gone - 'The Fortress'
I've written previously that we don't always appreciate bands / artists who just have the ability to simply write a great tune. It is an art in itself, and sometimes in the UK bands who do this seem to miss out on the recognition they deserve - Thirteen Senses are probably a great example. And Captain Gone in their new album 'The Fortress' manage to carve out more deliciously written tunes than many bands will manage in their career. It is the (mostly) Norwegian / (slightly) English bands second album, following their debut album 'A Hundred Nights Like This', and the follow up is more expansive - bigger, bolder and dare i suggest more 'stadium like' in its design.
The album opens with 'My Love', with a simple acoustic guitar and a slightly bigger piano theme followed immediately by a lovely vocal melody, which builds into the chorus. It has an air of confidence, and the guitar solo has a laid back comfortable feel. This is music for long summer nights, with the windows open and a carefree approach to living. And in 'Naked' we have the most beautifully crafted song, which blossoms into an almost impossibly perfect chorus, its very difficult not to like.
But the highlight is undoubtedly the title track 'The Fortress', with a huge instrumental opening theme, and a really well constructed song which has drama, multiple themes and builds towards a big climax and then impeccably judged subtlety to conclude. After such highs, 'Look at You' feels somewhat lightweight, but it reminds me (not for the 1st time) of 'The Feeling' in their softer moments - another band with an impressive ability to deliver knockout tunes. And there is no doubt that the difficulty with tracks based around such well written melodies, is that if they can drift on the least strongest songs, which is probably the case with this and 'Juliet'. But the high standards are captured again with 'History of Art', and the particularly special 'Stars Shine On', whilst to conclude we're offered the short violin accompanied and unusual 'No One', which even reminds me of Neil Hannon's wistful writing.
'The Fortress; is unapologetic alternative pop rock which aims to deliver the biggest tunes on a grand scale, albeit with a melancholy edge. And it works best when they 'go large'. Of course, some of you will turn your noses up at such pure honey coated and silky melodic genius, in the same way as bands such as Keane don't get universal approval from you all. But that is your loss, clearly, because to me 'Captain Gone' have a rare talent in delivering 'classic' well written alternative pop, which is easy to listen to, but has enough substance to give it longevity too. Go and track down 'The Fortress', and in particular add the title track to your latest listening Playlists.
Nordic Music Review 8/10
I love this live version of 'The Fortress' added below, i think the violin and flute work well. If youre in Norway you can see them live at:
6 may 2016 at Buckley's, Oslo
27. august 2016 at Sandvika Byfest, Sandvika