Monday, 20 September 2010

Get Cape Wear Cape fly - Self Titled (Cooking Vinyl)

Sam Duckworth and his musical alter-ego Get Cape Wear Cape Fly have been skulking at the peripheries of the mainstream for a few years now. While his bohemian teenage years recede ever further into the past, the commercial potential of that much-lauded début has heretofore failed to raise Duckworth's profile much past a point-14-font mention on the cover of NME. However, from the sounds of this self-titled third offering, Get Cape Wear Cape fly are pulling out all the stops to ensure this does not remain their lot for long. If the X Factor judges were to give a shit, I'm sure they would say that Get Cape have come out fighting.

Sometimes, when a musician makes a bid for the big time they will maintain their artistic flair and just enough integrity to render their ensuing success both inevitable and deserved. More often that not, their efforts sound like this: wanky, expansive sounding synth arrangements, kooky collaborations, clumsy genre-hopping, and sanitised, systematic production. However, to paint Duckworth as a status-seeking, money-driven sell-out is not only somewhat extreme, but also way off the mark; this album may be their most commercially viable to date, but I've no doubt old as well as new fans will find much to love here. For me, though, even after four listens, the album passed me by like so much insipid lift music, grabbing my attention only at its most jarring moments – the half-hearted drum n' bass bridge in All Falls Down, and the incongruous appearance of Baaba Maal's vocals in All Of This Is Yours which, along with the strings and jazzy keyboard sounds at the end of the track, seem like entirely unnecessary additions to what is essentially another saccharine acoustic ditty that Duckworth is so good at writing. Those punky credentials that, along with the likes of Frank Turner, once set Get Cape apart from the reams of other indenti-kit singer-songwriters, resurface on tracks like Queen For A Day, but the charm of the spirited verses is all but cancelled out by the cheesy, forgettable chorus.

Many reviewers have mooted that it's Duckworth's age that's brought about this new direction. But at only twenty-four, he's hardly over the hill, and I'm sure he could find more than enough material to reignite that youthful passion that made some of his previous releases so endearing. There's always a danger, however, that when a band releases a self-titled album, they do so with a sense of self-satisfaction, as if to suggest that they have finally found their defining sound. Tracks like Hand Me Downs, The Uprising, and The Plot – the best on the album – still retain that earnest simplicity which would suggest that while Get Cape may be somewhat misguided in their attempts at expansion, they have not lost sight of what won them their fan base in the first place.

Words : Tegan Rogers

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