Disregarding the deceptive label of post punk seemingly placed upon them, certainly on the accompanying promo sheet, what UK’s Oh Captive actually cast is a magnetic brew of pop punk and alternative rock around a rigorous spine of muscular melodic rock. Presented on their debut EP Advance Creature, the band’s sound it’s an exciting blend of passion and sonic textures drenched in striking craft and undeniable potential. It is a release which sparks fires in the emotions though not always retaining the same intensity, but from start to finish provides a fuse to the imagination and ignites a keen appetite for Oh Captive now and in the future.
The Bristol quartet emerged in 2012 and took little time is awakening an eager following locally before last year striking out around the country with bands such as Sonic Boom Six, UK Subs, Straight Lines, Max Raptor, Sharks, Blitz Kids, I Divide, Fighting With Wire, and Scholars. Comparisons to the likes of Coheed & Cambria and Twin Atlantic have fallen upon the band over time, comparisons relatively easy to understand listening to their four track debut.
The release opens with Beds Of Many Ghosts and immediately has ears entangled with enticing melodies, crisp rhythms, and a coaxing hook which lays down the first seductive bait. Settling into its confident stride, the track relaxes around the vocals of guitarist Tim Kelly but all the time is creating a virulence of hooks courted by an emerging groove. It is a striking narrative coloured further by thirsty shadows provided by bassist Tom Hitchins and the guitars of Kelly and Curtis King which weave a provocative and contagious web of enterprise. The song is an irresistible encounter, one which has a familiar air to it in many ways but steps beyond that security with bold imagination and a thoughtful swinging design from the impressive rhythms of drummer Chris Hill.
The excellent start is swiftly supported and matched by Terrible Lives. The track again shows no restraint in unleashing contagious hooks and evocative melodies around a persistent rhythmic beckoning which frames the fine tones of Kelly ably supported by those of King. The song teases with guitar and rhythms alone at times; the bass held in reserve but once involved in the suasion opens up the depths and darker textures of songs and songwriting. Like the first track, it creates a tapestry of smart twists and turns employing a skilful persistently changing gait evolving the face of the song whilst brewing an almost toxic groove to wrap the track and subsequently steal the show in a quite scintillating climax. Both songs are strongly memorable but the second really gets under the skin with that deviously addictive groove most of all.
The remaining two songs do not reach the stature of their predecessors though both only cement an impressive introduction to the band. The title track steps up next, its tender melodic start courted by a sonic mist before it expands into a rich and evocative blaze of passionate sounds and lyrical reflections. Perfectly balanced and vibrantly poised, the track courts the senses with a masterfully woven venture of dark rhythms and radiant melodies aligned to similarly captivating vocals, and though it does not entrench itself in the memory as those before, its presence only enhances the promise of the band.
The closing Retreat Being reasserts punchy rhythms and almost rapacious sinews to the skeleton of another track which is just at ease crooning at and seducing ears as it is forging a sturdier imposing persuasion. The bass of Hitchins is especially vocal and melancholic in the track to lead thoughts deep into an emotional intensity but as excellent as the song is again it lacks the spark to impact beyond its departure.
Overall Advance Creature is an EP which potently grips thoughts and emotions throughout. It is a striking entrance by Oh Captives, one soaked in a promise which suggests the band is going to have a rosy future whilst providing plenty of exciting investigations ahead.
The self-released Advanced Creature EP is available digitally from April 28th
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