Cast of the Capital – Hobgoblin, Staines

It’s amazing that the boyish good looks of the Aberdeen based band ‘Cast of the Capital’ contrast so neatly with their formidable maturity and authoritative power when it comes to creating those leaping melodies of sound and instantly hummable verses. We can’t live without those lively tempos and rat-a-tat beats.  The music takes us back to a gentler and sweeter time.

Matthew Morris fronts the band with those squeaky clean vocals and cheerful electric guitar. He is ably assisted in the task by Jamie Watt on backing vocals and guitars. His crisp solos were enjoyable but could have been more electrifying – bolder. The immediate energy and cracking pace of the band is provided by Alastair Naylor on drums with Matthew’s brother Steve on the restrained bass.

Cast of the Capital songs hurtle along like a runaway cart. As cheerful as a day out in June and as friendly as a carefree laugh with your school chums. Their compositions are fully structured, containing many details and pleasant meanders, like a mixture of light touches of summer rain with bright interludes. Sometimes the melodies rise to enthralling highs and the choruses are always incisive. Singalong verses  keep you moving and humming.

Songs like ‘Park Hands’ possess a simplistic Sixties aura about them and reminded me of ‘The Kinks’ or ‘Manfred Mann’.  Jamboree bags full of shimmering guitar and feel good verses. The song ‘Cinnamon Hill’ is more of a rock ‘n boogie number reminiscent of old time ‘Sweet’ or ‘T.Rex’. And ‘Comiston Springs’ contains the sound of swirling tartan and breeze running through the heather – traditional echoes from a proud country – sounding a lot like the 80’s Dunfermline band ‘Big Country’.

The performance from the boys at The Hob was about as confident as Tiger Woods at a lap-dancing club i.e. None more confident!  The Staines crowd enjoyed the elegant textures and immediate energy of the band. The songs might be as frothy as the top of your cappuccino but the band probably has hidden and darker depths – like your early morning espresso.  Just don’t expect deep political messages or suicidal thoughts at a Cast of the Capital gig. The boys look like they are enjoying themselves and they want you to do the same. And why not?

The band can be praised for their attention to detail … so it’s a shame that their entire song-book wasn’t as well constructed and as dynamically refined as their final number. Because if it was all as strong as this amazing number then Professor Higgins might well have said  “By Jove!  I think we’ve got it.”

If you enjoy rocketing choruses and soaring melodies with a delicate touch of folksy twang –  all put together in a well packaged product – then you need look no further than Cast of the Capital.

© Neil_Mach
April 2010


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