Select Captain - The Fear and The Lights - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Select Captain - The Fear and The Lights

by Jim Cunnar Rating:2 Release Date:2014-09-22

Hide the kitchen knives...

The Fear and the Lights is the debut album from Select Captain, the alter-ego of Copenhagen based singer-songwriter Kristian Gaarskjaer. According to his Soundcloud page, he describes his music and "melancholic, simplistic and gloomy". I now recognize this was a kind forewarning to the sonic death-spiral I was about to embark on.   

The opening track is appropriately titled 'Death'. It's simple, just acoustic guitar and vocals, which are muted with a prodution effect lifted halfway through the song. It's an interesting piece of production that should of lasted 45 seconds, not half the song. 

That being said, it's an acceptable opener. This segways into the best track on the album, 'All Too Hard', which again combines acoustic guitar with nice vocal and electric guitar harmonies and layered percussion to give a spooky groove. It's quite good. 

Unfortunately, the album deteriorates quickly into Bon Iver-esque, annoying pomposity. Boring and forgettable, the songs trudge along one after another. 'Sweet Desire' is awful, with overwraught lyrics ("she took my fire/ my sweet desire") sung with a Peter Murphy 'Cuts You Up' baritone. 

'On the Right Track' is inexcusable - nine straight songs of slow folksy dirge, and then an upbeat Johnny Cash, 2/2 time-signature out of the blue?  It's so out of place it's uncomfortable, and that's saying something in light of how uncomfortable the rest of the album is.  

Sadly, the worst was yet to come. The final song, 'What We Endear', might be one of the worst songs I've ever heard. You know you are in trouble when, after 10 seconds, the first thing that comes to mind is Dana Carvey singing 'Chopping Brocolli' on Saturday Night Live (http://youtu.be/-mXIL_LKvvI). It's self-absorbed drivel. It's simply unlistenable. 

I'd like to say this album is a throw away, a one time listen. The thing is, if I did that, I'd feel responsible for the 41 minutes of listening time you could of spent elsewhere.    

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