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(60:36; Brigand Broadcasting Corporation)
As is often the case these days, I blame Olav Bjornsen for introducing me to the Captain a few years ago. He was sure I would be interested in watching a video that had been produced, and I was soon taken into a world I never imagined still existed (for a fine example stop reading this for six minutes and drop over to YouTube and search out the video for “Mr Many Men”, which although taken from his debut album shows just what the Captain is all about, and is simply one of the very best videos I have ever seen, and this from a self-financed independent artist). Not only does the Captain have a strong visual image, but musically I can’t think of anyone else quite like him. French chanson? Folk? Americana? Bluegrass? Music hall? Cabaret? Vaudeville? All these and so many more styles get thrown in, no wonder there are more than 100 musicians and singers involved with this recording, yet always front and centre is the Captain with his wonderful vocals and lyrics. When opening the digipak, we find ourselves being challenged as to if we dare enter the circus of mortality, and then discover the booklet unfolds into a board game which also includes all the lyrics. There is artwork everywhere, and the result is a release that one really does want to read while playing the album. It takes me back to when I was young, back when listening to music was an end in itself as opposed to something which was disposable and disregarded by many. Back then we pored over the album artwork, and if it was a gatefold we wondered at the artwork and hopefully there were lyrics, or possibly an inner sleeve which contained them. It really is an album which makes one sit, think, and let the world go by. Take “Berlin Between The Wars” as an example, which is incredibly evocative of the period of the title. One can just imagine this being performed in a club, with everyone in the audience sat at little tables joining in the chorus. Compare that to “Brain”, which is multi-layered, multi-faceted, complex yet simple and an upbeat delight. It also contains very clever lyrics indeed, which is something one quickly realises is a trait of the Captain who will do plenty of thinking for us, but also wants us to think for ourselves. A fine example of this is “Hating Hate” which starts off with the sound of jackboots hitting the ground as we are then asked questions about what is hate’s intention? Of all the songs on the album this is the one which made me stop and have strong think about myself and the way I treat others. I have always felt that “hate” is a word that should never be used, but I have seen how some people treat others (and have been the victim of so much vitriol that I left certain platforms), and I even stopped reading the news from the country of my birth as it felt too divisive. Here the Captain puts together a cogent argument about how hate just loves us to hate the haters, and the only way to stop the cycle is by not hating: “I will not hate you my sister/brother, It matters not if you hate me”. One can imagine Richard Thompson providing us with “Drifting”, buoyant and simply wonderful. Apart from when the Captain is deliberately putting us in the mood of a certain country this does feel a very anglicised album indeed, and I found at times that some of the words reminded me of A. A. Milne or P.G. Wodehouse. Captain of the Lost Waves should be heralded as a national treasure, but until he is discovered by the many, he can be our secret, surely one of the most interesting and enjoyable musicians out there at the present. He refuses to follow any path, but instead is creating his very own and his music is very much the better for it.
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