Tall Grass Captains "In the Resistance" (Ubique Records, 2010)
Eclectic mix lacks unity
With a name like Tall Grass Captains you might be expecting something high and lonesome, but instead this is an almost bewilderingly diverse collection. Apparently taking inspiration from disciplines as disparate as psychedelic-folk, art-rock, post-punk and pop-power in varying degrees. But whilst such heterogeneity is to be welcomed, their failure to adequately unite their influences within a single song and instead go genre-hopping with each new track, can sometimes be distracting.
The opening tracks, 'In the Resistance' and 'Dime', positively exude pastoralism, recalling early Seventies English rural-prog bands such as Spirogyra or Audience, before heading fully into acid-folk territory with the Eastern strains of Chaouen. Then suddenly you’re plunged into the angular, college-rock riffing of 'Devils Own' and 'Side Effect', before the beatific 'Sunshine' emerges with rays of pedal steel, sounding like the perfect encapsulation of West Coast country-rock.
Having said that, for the most part they retain a signature sound and the production brings a taut clarity to proceedings which helps to tie it all together. Songs like the aforementioned 'Devils Own' or 'Straight Line' are probably the least satisfying efforts, largely because the sound they reference is so familiar these days, whilst the folkier material feels paradoxically fresh and almost exotic. Side by side they yield a variety that is certainly very edifying but doesn’t quite hang together as a single entity.
Date review added: Sunday, September 19, 2010
Reviewer: Kai Roberts
Related web link: Artist's myspace