Having been seduced by US electro pop band The Capsules through their previous album Northern Lights & Southern Skies, anticipation for its successor The Long Goodbye has been excitable and at times impatient especially when having the honour of a sneak preview a short while ago, and the album does not let any expectations and hopes down now that it is finally ready to immerse the world into its mesmeric embrace. Its predecessor was an enthralling proposition which did not ignite a fire in the passions though it had them bubbling nicely with its enchanting charm and qualities; The Long Goodbye though does both. At times it has emotions and satisfaction simmering vivaciously but more often than not it leads them to raging flames of pleasure and rapture whilst revealing a thrilling evolution in the band’s sound, craft, and songwriting maturity.
Originally from Kansas but now Dallas based, The Capsules’ seeds began in high school with Julie and Jason Shields. Coming together to write music, it subsequently led to romance, marriage, and first band Shallow as well as the first bloom of their breath-takingly textured sounds. Next the pair enlisted drummer Kevin Trevino as they looked to expand and further refine their sound, a potent move resulting in the emergence of The Capsules. As the trio grew in sound and presence so did attention towards them, debut album Reverser sparking a focus upon them followed by two more increasingly captivating full-lengths before Northern Lights & Southern Skies brought in all into a much greater spotlight. Along the way the band has also grabbed an increasingly growing legion of fans including SpongeBob SquarePants creator Steven Hillenburg who asked them to write a song for the show. Understandable comparisons to the likes of Cocteau Twins, Blonde Redhead, Metric, Phantasmogram, and My Bloody Valentine have graced the band over releases and their performances with bands such as The Flaming Lips, Garbage, Mercury Rev, and Low, but it is honest to say that The Long Goodbye places the band into their own unique centre of attraction with its invigorating electronic caresses and seductive vocal temptations. Released via Saint Marie Records, the album quite simply is one ridiculously potent siren.
The entrancing flight of the album starts with The Beginning and its initial jangling enticement, guitars offering more tangible bait in an increasingly immersive ambience bred by the keys. Instantly there is a whisper of drama to the song, a colourful essence which erupts into an eager breath to a lively and in comparison to its start, urgent stroll to the song. The crisp beats of Kevin bring a coaxing spine to the song as the increasingly mesmeric tones of Julie wrap and envelope the senses but it is the teasing melody crafted by Jason which lays down the strongest trap, its Altered Images intrigue, simulated by haunted yet warm harmonies, simply delicious. It is a rousing anthemic start to the album, a scenic evocative contagion which takes the imagination and passions into bright aural views.
Super Symmetry takes over and just as quickly has ears and thoughts transfixed with its expressive electro courting, its breath a mix of melancholy and elation. Julie’s voice smoulders as she glides over the minimalistic yet fully hued landscape of the song, noir kissed shadows and lapping incitements of melodies filling the unfussy and infectious premise. There is a hazy light which soaks the song, one which flirts as it soaks every note and syllable to help create a presence which simply absorbs mind and soul before making way for the thicker narrative of Monsters. Like the opener it has an eighties synth pop like spice to its cloudy wash of acidic guitar enterprise and smothering melodies, but truly comes alive when the band opens up its chorus with a rhythmic crescendo matched by elevated sonic flames.
Both the title track and Death Of A Comet steer the senses into a spatial climate, the first soaring with rapturous vocal flumes and magnetic rhythmic enticement within expansive and emotionally invasive weaves of keys laced together by the intricate guitar sewing of Jason. The second provides an initial emotional dawning which slowly spreads its colour and aural heart until finding itself casting a gentle stroll beneath a moonlit smile. Both tracks light up ears and air, bulging melodies aligned to soaring beauty and a spellbinding croon respectively showing just two more twists in the diversity seeding the songwriting and album, an aspect pushed again by the outstanding Hollywood. With a thick and glorious dark bass prowl stealing attention as the song radiates its entrancing suasion whilst again celestial flavouring breeds sonic fascination, the track is an impossibly beguiling and infectious flight into shadowed climes and compelling sunspots, much like its namesake.
The brooding grandeur of You Are A Metaphor keenly kisses ears next, again layers of dark and light converging into an enriching provocative ambience sculpted in reflection and thought, before being put in the shade just a little by Signals, a song where from its first scattering of Numan-esque trappings steals undiluted attention especially when it brings a heavier and no less welcome OMD expression to its electro stirring. Gripping and mouthwatering the song is itself just a very tasty appetiser for the highlight of the album, The Lonely End. The song is just majestic pop alchemy which stands as one of the best song unveiled this year. From its first strands of electro infection aligned to loudly vocal melodic emotion, the track swarms around seducing senses and imagination like a dark temptress, one needing no assistance but getting it with a just as potent sultriness from the fabulous tones of Julie. Robust but as finely crafted as porcelain, the spellbinding encounter with its earthy bass sound and scorched sonic guitar bred flames aligned to breath-taking melodies is simply stunning.
The height of its glory leaves songs like With Every Hour and Don’t Look Down which follow a thankless task but both without truthfully coming near still enrol the listener in a masterclass of picturesque melodies and imagination painting keys embraced in possessive harmonies and vocals. Neither song admittedly takes the bull by the horns either, both in distinct ways exploring their own independent emotional investigations without the same contagious toxins found elsewhere, though that virulence is soon rediscovered by the almost imposingly dramatic The Forgotten Days. There is a nagging essence and potency to the song which like a dog with a pig’s ear never relinquishes the instant hook it places in the passions early on. With guitars and drums steering the encounter as powerfully as the vocals, the track is a formidable provocateur, one which never truly explodes as expected but still provides a gem of an incitement.
The Long Goodbye closes with the excellent version of I Will Survive, a slowly awakening temptation which once more prefers to croon than romp but still finds a level of energy and enticement which leaves breath gasping. The song is one which has never found favour here but in the hand of The Capsules has become a firm favourite. The Long Goodbye is easily one of the special treats of the year so far suggesting that from being compared to many others The Capsules from this point on will be who others are compared to.
The Long Goodbye is available via Saint Marie Records now!
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