Review: Captain Horizon – Captain Horizon

Following our interview with these guys earlier this week, we review their eponymous four-track debut EP Captain Horizon.

Listening to Captain Horizon, I get it.  I feel like the band are introducing themselves to us, shaking our hands, and loosely highlighting their surface ideals – a handful of steady, light influences to engratiate themselves and spark some dialogue, without really getting into the nitty gritty of their deeper, more thoughtful, individual abberations.

The EP starts with Poker, a barn-storming alt-rock showpiece.  The intro appears reminiscent of Oasis”™ The Shock Of The Lightning, but any allusions to the indie plebs are shot out of the water as soon as the main grunge-tinted riff kicks in, driven by the furious bass work of the consistently compelling Alex Thomson.  The opening gambit from singer Steve Whittington – a gutteral screech pitched somewhere between Chris Cornell and Steven Tyler – tells us where we are: this is classic, stadium rock, and you”™re going to feel every drop of Whitty”™s blood, sweat and lyrical spit.

It”™s not until the final 20 seconds of the song that we notice the band have a drummer at all.  For the preceding 3 minutes the beats have been simple 2/4 measure; sure, the occassional fills were air-tight, but there”™s a niggling question as to why rhythm is being avoided altogether.  It”™s not until Whitty raises the roof on the final rendition of the chorus that drummer James Merrix takes control, stretching us over an aching triplet fill that drops into half time, brilliantly drawing out the pulse and bringing a taut ending to an upliftingly tense conclusion.

Next up is riff-laden Fall Like That, a nod to Audioslave that never quite matches the distinction set by Poker.  Thomson continues to power the band, his bass runs during the chorus focussing our attention, and later holding together an otherwise disappointing solo section.

By far the EPs highlight is third track What”™s Going On?.  The four-piece dove-tail each other to marvellous effect, blending their influences and talents into one fantastic composition.  Merrix and Thomson provide suitably understated backing for guitarist Joshua Watson”™s exquisite guitar lines.  While the solo on Fall Like That seemed restrained and by-the-book, it”™s on What”™s Going On? that the melodic flow of Watson”™s legatto style comes to real fruition.  Watson and Thomson trade riffs until, on 3 minutes, the chorus comes back and Watson”™s musical voice is given some airtime – and when the chorus comes back with the band in full swing, we”™ve been treated to the best 30 second of the EP.  Watson and Thomson also provide great vocal support to Whittington, who shows his fantastic vocal capabilities the most here – honest but restrained in the verses, angry but dignified in the chorus.

Tears From The Eye is the bands attempt at a bluesy ballad, and it”™s here that I appreciated what the aim was for this EP – each song is a standard of some sort, aimed at showing the various nuances the band are capable of.  In this respect, each of the songs are successful.  Tears From The Eye is well paced and well balanced.  Where it falls down, perhaps, is that it”™s a little too standard – in trying to avoid calling a song ”˜Tears”™, it”™s called Tears From The Eye, leading to the question.. where else do tears come from?  The outro riff brings a nice change of pace to the song and a definitive end to the EP, but the riff just isn”™t all that fun”¦

Now these boys have fleshed out all these ideas and they know what works, I think the next release will provide a better indication of the direction Captain Horizon is going in.  Here”™s a group of 4 talented and ambitious guys, now we want to hear them have a little fun.  The band are currently working on a new EP, and we look forward to a full-length in good time, where they”™ll have room to showcase their range of talents without the worry of squeezing it all into 4 tracks.  Garnering praise for their live show as well, we also recommend you see Captain Horizon at a gig soon.

The EP is available to listen to on Spotify now.


James TAE

By James TAE

James TAE is a Music and Tech Journalist, Editor for Spotisfaction, and writer for God Is In The TV and London Tour Dates magazine. Follow him @James_TAE