My Sad Captains are named after a Thom Gunn poem. This might be enough to scare you off this five-piece London band but it's worth getting over your phobias. They play a drowsy, summery pop that sits somewhere between jangle and Wilco-esque americana. And yes it is 'literate' but as in intelligent rather than pretentiously smart-arse.
I've been waiting for their debut album (released last week on Stolen Recordings) for a couple of years since falling for the gorgeous jangle-pop of single "Bad Decisions" and seeing them at End of the Road Festival. In fact "All Hat and No Plans" made my Best of 2007 compilation - given it's featured on this album I might be able to squeeze it into this year's compilation? The new album is a really strong record with gorgeous boy-girl harmonies, big singalong choruses and little orchestral-pop flourishes a-plenty (but "Bad Decisions" is a slowed down version minus all the jangle. You NEED the single as well as the album version). It's not flashy, it's not hurried but over several listens now I'm gently won over to its charms. And I find singer Ed Wallis's voice at times an eerie blend of Grant McLennan AND Robert Forster at the same time. (The Go-Betweens is a much better reference for My Sad Captains than some others - Stereolab and Pavement?!)
Also on the bill at the Roadhouse tonight is Absent Elk and from a quick listen the two bands should complement each other beautifully. Advance tickets here.
My Sad Captains
Here and Elsewhere [BUY]