This is the eponymous debut disk from Saturday Captains, comprised of ex Luggage main man Barry O’Mahony and Brendan Tallon from Dublin Pixie-core outfit, Revelino. Together they’ve put together an album of lilting, mature pop music. It’s been 20 years (FUCKING HELL!) since the heydays, but in retrospect, Revelino had some excellent songs. Now, without the grunge howl in the background and the comparisons that came with, the simplistic thrill of a well written tune can be properly appreciated. Luggage carried less baggage back in the day, but the talents of the two are perfectly matched.
The Longest Hours in Europe opens the record with a Fugiya Miyaga meets a vim-infused Leonard Cohen vibe. The delivery in the vocals is great, it’s laconic without being sneering, sardonic, without being needlessly sarcastic. Lost Cargo has a Hold Steady-ish delivery, thankfully lacking the posturing or mania, featuring some guitarwork so reminiscent of Reveliono in the their prime. No Wings could have been penned by Luke Haines, if he was still in his early twenties.
Kiss of Life is an instrumental break, has a krauty-eurobeat to it, a Kraftwerk/Neu mash up. The Captains show their age. But this kind of laid back intensity only comes with time. It’s earned. Pay heed, callow youths. Get your own music.
Old Heart is plucked on the acoustic, with a tiny chorus of ba-bas in the background, channelling Berlin era Reed. The strings build up beautifully in the background. The Sunset Set, Give It Up continue in the unassuming pop vein, and it wraps up nicely with the sixties inflected Don’t Go Looking, and the final piece, the instrumental Oh Here Come The Loud Clouds, which sounds like the scene at the end of a French movie where a girl in a grey trench coat is waving goodbye in the rain, a row of Citroens reflected in puddles, the sky grey and unyielding. Was that girl self destructively mental? The plaintive melody suggests as much. Best get out of that relationship before you’re smothering her with a pillow in some Parisian hospital.
The playing here has a simple virtuosity, there’s nary a hair out of place. It’s tight, and sounds as if it was recorded over time, considered even, not rushed. These lads know what they want to achieve, and they’ve set out to do so. Excellent work.