REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Slow & steady wins the race on the charmingly languid third My Sad Captains LP

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

For an album that's seemingly half-asleep for most of its 46 minutes, 'Best of Times' is laden with creeping subtleties that slowly unfold and reward with each repeat listen.


My Sad Captains - Best Of Times (OUT 17TH MARCH)

My Sad Captains were last seen by your esteemed writer in 2007, pedalling a fine heady brew of fizzy indie pop typified by
'Bad Decisions’ which I purchased on 7 inch at a
Darren Hayman gig no less. It therefore comes as somewhat of a surprise to me that the opening track
'Goodbye' sounds like the
Pet Shop Boys; singer Ed Wallis' lazily half-spoken singing eerily reminiscent of Neil Tennant, and sonically compounded by waves of synth and a steady disco(ish) beat. Occupying a similar space to similarly ex-Fortuna Pop scenesters
Fanfarlo, whose recent third
‘Let’s Get Extinct’ also saw the band shift sonically from anthemic folks rock to absorb some distinctly 80s pop stylings,
‘Best Of Times’ is  certainly a more gentle proposition than my last dalliance with
My Sad Captains but is ultimately all the more absorbing for its subtleties and the evident maturation in their musical prowess. More often than not this is best evidenced in the savvy lightness of hands, most of the songs slowly layering in on repeated groove with the band knowing exactly how to shift gears in tiny increments. Take
‘All Times Into One’ which slides in on the kind of
Horrors-esque psychedelic kraut rock groove that's so achingly trendy these days before layering in Wallis’ vocals, some gorgeous shimmering
Mogwai atmospherics, a lively bass line and brassy synths as it slowly but surely builds to an unfolding of beautiful slow decay. The gentle head-nod of
‘Wide Open’ and the repeating riff and barely there melody of
‘Hardly There’ both sleepily ramp up through the minutes without outstaying their welcome; 
‘In Time’ is a beautiful lament that wouldn’t be out of place on a
Grandaddy album and the simple acoustic arpeggio and heavily reverbed vocal of
‘All In Your Mind’ is pure aching desert ballad. Even when the positively bouncy bass line of
‘Extra Curricular’ starts to recall those heady indie pop days the brand deftly create space around it; a driving drum and gradual layering up of sound making for a far more subtle and intricate arrangement than the lively verse-chorus-verse of their youth. No great surprise then that the band round things off with
‘Familiar Ghosts’ whose opening drums are lodged in the kind of standard Rock Beat mode you used to find on a Casio keyboard. With little more than piano chords and repeating vocal refrain aloft the beat for the first couple of minutes, a threatened
huge finish never happens, the album instead closing on a steady groove augmented by an all-too brief mournful trumpet, ending
‘Best of Times’ in much the same restrained manner in which it began. Well played gentlemen, well played.