CAPTAIN BLACK BEARD – BEFORE PLASTIC
Released on May 27, 2014 by Dead End Exit Records
This album is exhibit A on why I’m willing to give anything a chance at least once. I visit a number of hard rock/melodic rock sites on a weekly basis, picking up recommendations and curiosities on dozens of new bands in the process. I’ll dump the album in question into my streaming “collection” and revisit the album at some point later on. Usually I give them a listen and discard them, the genre now a glut of under-developed musicians and ideas. Sometimes I’ll leave them for a future second listen, and occasionally one will grab my attention and demand further investigation. Then every once in a blue moon an album will tackle me on first listen and say, “yup, this is a DEFINITE keeper”. Captain Black Beard looked like a total throwaway when I first added them to my mix (dumb name, cartoonish album cover), but I was two songs in when I realized that they weren’t getting dumped. By the end of the album I really wanted to listen to it again immediately and ended up playing it daily for about a week straight. The weird thing is there is nothing about it that I can tell you which will make you understand WHY, let alone make you want to run out and find it.
Their sound is a stripped back 80’s rock, not quite hair metal because it lacks the crunch and sense of (faux) danger. Instead it’s more of a Night Ranger or Loverboy sound, thinner guitars (but with memorable riffs), squeaky clean vocals, and basic song structures and themes. So why the 10? As always, I have to start with the vocals. Sakaria Björklund’s (yup, more Swedes) sound just really appeals to me, as it’s clear, clean, with just a hint of rasp going on, which is accented with some good harmony and backing vocals. Second is the songs, which in this case are simple but highly catchy, with energy and rhythm without blowing through a million ideas at once. The chugging riff come chorus time of “New York City” is phenomenal, and the soaring chorus of “Somebody” is the kind of thing I eat up with a spoon. It’s a car driving record, one that doesn’t require a ton of thought but doesn’t come across as dumb either. It’s got all the good parts of 80’s rock, minus the excess, and that is just about 100% in my musical wheelhouse. They’re not re-inventing the genre, but they may have mastered it.
PRO-2, VOC-2, MUS-2, SNG-2, MSC -2
- Please Come Home
- New York City
- Bad Girl
- Music Man
- Aiming For Love
- Keep On Drivin’
- Life’s What You Make It
- Takin’ You Out
- Listen Up
Sakaria Björklund (V,G), Christian Ek (G), Robert Majd (B), Victor Högberg (D)