The Buddha Den

Everything you wanted to know about the Dayton music scene and more but were afraid to ask

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

REVIEW: Captain of Industry-The Bronze

In many band's catalogs, it is their debut offering that ends up as their defining work. After honing their sound on the stage, a band is often able to capture the intensity and immediacy on their first venture into the studio. The material presented is typically so well-rehearsed at that point that it seems there could be no way to top it. However, in some cases a band takes a few albums before finally hitting a stride and making that definitive statement of their sound. In the case of Captain of Industry, their third album, The Bronze, (out on All Hail Records) seems destined to fall into that latter category.

Since their last album (2005's The Great Divide), Captain of Industry expanded their ranks by adding long-time Dayton journeyman Tommy Cooper on guitar (augmenting core members Nathan Peters on vocals/keyboards, John Lakes on drums, Kevin Oldfield on guitar, and Ian Sperry on bass). With this addition, Cooper gave the band additional stability in the rhythm section and enabled Oldfield to more confidently indulge his gratuitous knob-twiddling. As their first work with Cooper in tow, The Bronze is a decidedly more muscular affair than either The Great Divide or the band's debut !, which suggested a band more in love with Herbie Hancock than David Bowie. While COI has always had a penchant for prog rock and twisted, sprawling arrangements, with The Bronze the band has refined their ideas to such a razor-fine point that nearly every track on the album serves as proof of a band in full command of its prowess.

The one-two punch of "Gold For Your Mouth" and the manic "Sweet Nectar Action" indicate the band's growth from last year's studio binge on The Gold Teeth EP. Most notably, the guitar interplay of Oldfield and Cooper drive the tracks in a way that the guitars have not done elsewhere in the COI catalog. This is a trend that most notably defines the shift on The Bronze from the band's previous work. Perhaps one of the most defining moments on the album, "Facefull of a Headfull of Hair" showcases Peters' melodic gifts and effortless wordplay draped in sheets of vibrato guitars and piano stabs. The scale-running workout at the song's conclusion only further builds the case for the band's newfound guitar-centric sound. As if the point needed further evidence, check out the ferocious prog workout of "Sabo" and the dynamic slashing shuffle of "TKO".

While the Captains may be steering their ship away from calm waters, this is not to say they have not taken with them the melodic gifts which helped craft their sound. The track "Popsicle" is easily as memorable as anything James Mercer has dished out, and its irreverant lines of "One man gets wasted/Another joins the rodeo/One DJ quits his job/Because what he plays blows" highlights Peters' ability to infuse a dose of humor into his sublime melodies.

While it may have taken Captain of Industry a few swings to come up with the long ball, The Bronze is a shot that may very well be heard 'round the world. With their idiosyncratic blend of prog-infused-indie pop and a stack of songs that easily stand up against most of what passes for modern rock, Captain of Industry have produced an album that may very well move them up out of the minor leagues and send them to the show.



Blogger Gus Stathes said...

I'll be highly impressed if they can top The Great Divide. That album is fantastic.

7:38 PM  

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