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  • David Bentley

Non-Nordic Sunday: Capitaine Monaluise (UK): 'Mixed Up Generation' (single)

Sorry folks, I can’t impart much information on Capitaine Monaluise except that she’s British, or so it seems, although with a brother called Pau (he plays harmonica here) and a guitarist called Luis Varela I’m not so sure. SocMed, the millennials’ comfort toy, can only offer “a distinctive combination of rock, folk and soul” under ‘About’. Perhaps she’s related to Captain and Tennille. They could write a smoochy song or two. And come to think of it, she does have that enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa.

But our Capitaine doesn’t do smooch. Rather, she’s constructed a straight to the point ode to her generation, the millennials, which she’s honest enough to admit is pretty mixed up. The way she does it is tasty and it belongs to another generation altogether. This could be right out of The Travelling Wilburys’repertoire, time travelled into the 2020s, with a nice dose of Roy Orbison harmonica and George Harrison guitar in there.

Vocally, it’s heavily layered with Americana. And she has genuine rock tones too, delivered seemingly effortlessly. I can’t quite pin down who she reminds me of. Some are saying Sheryl Crow which I can go along with but then it’s more of a country and western hint in there as well. Even a dash of Elkie Brooks in the mix. A veritable fusion.

My only gripe about this song is that her vocal isn’t enunciated as clearly as it might be. Perhaps it’s the production but a song that strives to make a generational statement in its defence needs to be heard properly. She says that generation is accused of having “…short-lived, shallow connections, exacerbated by technology. With this song, I wish to interrogate these attitudes.” That’s serious stuff but not everyone listening to it was born 20-30 years ago and some of us struggle to hear lyrics properly in our dotage.

At one point for example she appears to sing (and I’m sure I’ll swiftly be corrected if I’m wrong), “We are the mixed up generation, full of twisted aspirations”. That puts me in mind immediately of one of my favourite and most telling lines of recent years, from Lail Arad’s ‘My Love’, when she sings “and we’re jealous of our parents’ generation/and we’re angry at our parents’ generation/...still we seek their affirmation.” Accordingly it endears me immediately to the Capitaine, but at the same time you can hear every single word of Lail’s song, crisp and clear. A lesson perhaps to be borne in mind.

But don’t let that put you off. For a debut song it’s a cracker, definitely deserves national airplay and hopefully is a harbinger of more to come. (You won’t find ‘harbinger’ in the millennial dictionary; you’ll have to Google it).

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