A horrible hack

Algiers

You're the Captain

Year Released: 2014
Format: CD
Label: Xtra Mile
 
Reviewed by Andrew Revis on Apr 26, 2014
It's high time we reclaimed that genre we once so cheerily called pop-punk from all that piss-poor American mall music (I'm looking at you All Time Low, Hit The Lights, Set Your Goals, Cute Is What We Aim For, Forever The Sickest Kids and your wretched ilk) and get behind a genuinely talented British duo who care more about tunes than haircuts. Because in Algiers we have a band that truly deserve your attention (unless you’re into stuff like Cannibal Corpse or Agoraphobic Nosebleed, obviously).

You’re The Captain is an honest, innocent and thoughtful ten tracks of pop perfection from the north-east of England via Manchester. Singer/guitarist William Anderson’s angelic voice belies some angsty, angry but poetic lyrics. His guitar - sometimes widdly, sometimes sparkly - recalls Brit emo luminaries such as Pylon, Stapleton and Hot Club de Paris; and his way with words is reminiscent of Death Cab For Cutie’s spikier moments. All great starting points for a young band. And, mercifully, no try-hard American accents.

Opening with instant classic Mother (‘We’ve lain without the heating, we’ve smiled without a word…’), then the equally vintage Miles And Miles Of Rosary Beads (‘All I tried to do was help you…What a fucking surprise!’), and on to the joyous Indian Sweets (‘I confess I’m not the best, I’m easily led astray, I drink most days, I’m selfish, awkward and drawn away...’), what follows is simple but faultless indie-pop-punk. Ending with the two-part To The Beat Of A Marching Drum, this is chart music as it rightfully should be, not One fucking Direction or Taylor fucking Swift.

And they have these songs by the bucketload! Their debut EP, released by Big Scary Monsters a few years ago, is five more of the same. And respect to them for not re-hashing older tracks - how easy it would have been to sneak the odd old one in on their debut full-length on Xtra Mile rather than start anew, but start anew they have. And they have form, these two. Anderson’s previous band, Dartz, had that angular emo-pop thing down to a tee, and drummer John Goodwin did his time in one-time hot new band The Maple State.

It’s not revolutionary, they won’t be nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, and it’ll be a brave writer who puts it on a Best Of list come year end. What You’re The Captain is, though, is a masterclass in shimmering, hooky, romantic pop. All the way from Middlesbrough.

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