You're The Captain

Written by: TL on 26/01/2014 17:16:52

I've been reaching for Death Cab For Cutie comparisons quite often lately, and I've begun to wonder if I'm somehow skint for references, or if there's just a wave of bands coming out that grew up listening to Ben Gibbard and his band. Not here though, because the Sheffield duo Algiers - which consists of members with pasts in The Maple State and Dartz! - have openly confessed to being inspired by the influential Seattle-based indie-group, while serving up a first album in "You're The Captain" which should also draw fans of the likes of more closely residing bands like Tellison or To Kill A King, and which is due for release one day after this very article.

Restricted to two members though, John Goodwin on drums and William Anderson on guitar and lead vocals, it makes sense that Algiers sounds like a somewhat bare-boned alternative to the bands their sound references, although Anderson's guitar has been layered to sound like more. Embedding chiming leads within clean, warm chords, a foundation is formed to which the singer adds an organic vocal performance that sounds like he's excited yet at times containing his parts within the upper reaches of his range, suspecting that he could slide half a note off tune if he pushed things much higher.

With their limited setup and production, Algiers naturally don't command as rich a kit of sounds as their influences, but they do a good job of making up for this by varying the tempo well across "You're The Captain". Opener and single "Mother" delivers its quirky lyrics about a beast in a washroom upon a tempered, mid-paced twang, while the following "Indian Sweets" and "Miles And Miles Of Rosary Beads" speed ahead with a spring in their step. And at track five, the steady-going, harmonious "Lighthouse" also demonstrates Anderson's penchant for bubbly, mathy guitar patterns which hint at a liking for American Midwest emo bands like Algernon Cadwallader and such.

Along with the four songs mentioned thus far, "On Resistance And Appeal; Our Wanderer Finds Refuge, Instigating Lament" - the second act of closing two-piece "To The Beat Of A Marching Drum" - has stuck out as a highlight for me, on a record which flashes its potential by distributing catchy moments fairly evenly across the ten tracks on offer. Most of them has at least one line or part that will bid your ears welcome back upon returns to the album and this is perhaps the biggest feather in the band's cap so far. I'd argue that the overall expression still needs to develop a bit more unique character, and that while there's plenty of "good" on "You're The Captain", I'm missing those moments that take me from "good" to "proper excited". That said, for two dudes you probably hadn't heard about prior to reading this review, Algiers could've done a lot worse for a first effort, and while they might not wow you quite as much as the referenced contemporaries, this debut of theirs is still a guaranteed cozy listen.

Download: Miles And Miles Of Rosary Beads, Lighthouse, Mother
For The Fans Of: Death Cab For Cutie, Tellison, To Kill A King, I Can Make A Mess

Release Date 27.01.2014
Xtra Mile Recordings

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