Posted on Jun 12th 2008 11:33 pm

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Dark Captain Light Captain: Circles

LOAF 2008
04 Tracks. 16mins35secs
Format: CD/Digital

London’s ever expanding (it seems) and mysteriously named Dark Captain Light Captain came together in early 2006 around the nucleus of guitarists and vocalists Neil Kleiner and Dan Carney, and have since grown into a full six-member outfit, but their music has lost nothing of the fragility it had in the early days. Circles is the band’s second release and follows last year’s debut single Jealous Enemies/Mid-Session Interval. It is also the prelude to the band’s first album, scheduled for later in the year.

Building their songs around gentle vocal layers and harmonies, brushed with acoustic guitars, soft rhythmic patterns and discreet electronics, DCLC have undoubtedly refined their sound since Jealous Enemies and developed the music lexicon which informs their work to great effect. From the overtly pastoral textures which serve as foundations for these four songs, the band draw wonderful crisp and detailed vignettes which appear to constantly change tone as each song grows.

There is a strong feeling of unity throughout this EP, an impression carried perhaps by the omnipresence of gentle, yet rich vocal harmonies, but the particularly delicate arabesques of opening song Circles are unique to this piece. While the main guitar motif continuously swirls around the main vocal line, a recurring piano pattern comes in and out of focus in the background. Robot Command Centre may seem, at first, simpler, but as the song progresses into the chorus, once again DCLC weave a wonderfully intricate and warm sonic tapestry, with fine details shimmering through the dense layers of the piece.

With no rhythmic section to support the shorter They Be Underwater and Walls, these songs appear more stripped down and fragile. On the former, DCLC compensate by laying static noises and atmospheric found sounds over the opening and closing section of the song, and by pushing the acoustic guitar a bit more toward the back to let other elements come through. The guitar returns to the forefront on Walls to create a peaceful backdrop for the tale of everyday violence

With this confident release, Dark Captain Light Captain reassert their position as one of London’s most promising acts. In just four songs, the band showcase a strong palette which relies equally on the subtlety and density of the music and the moods and tones set by the intricate vocal layering. Circles is without a shadow of a doubt one of the strongest EPs of the year so far!


Dark Captain Light Captain | LOAF
Buy: CD

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