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The Capes
Hard Soul Records

The Capes' name made me think of a group of psychedelic fops strutting around Haight-Ashbury or London's King's Road. But they turn out to be another engaging UK post-punk pop group in the vein of Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs or Arctic Monkeys (believe at least some of the hype on the latter, by the way - they're well worth a listen). On the evidence of this 6-track EP, South London lads the Capes are well able to stand up in such exalted company.

The band met at Goldsmith's College in London - home to such illustrious alumni as members of Blur, Pulp and Placebo. Singer Kris Barratt, dual keyboardist-guitarists Richard Gladman and Nick Cresswell, bassist Rupert Cresswell and drummer Rupert Phelps (two Ruperts in one band ? Posh !)soon generated a buzz in the UK and were picked up by Hard Soul for the listening pleasure of us Americans.

The first couple of spins of Taste very much recall the aforementioned new wave of Brit bands, with staccato guitars, cheap keyboards and XTC-ish vocals - Barratt's voice is very similar to Andy Partridge's hiccuping performances. Check out "Tightly Wound", which sounds like a long lost outtake from White Music - not that this is a bad thing at all .

Repeated listens start to bring out the band's uniqueness, though - they have a nice nostalgic streak to their music, which goes back past the first punk era all the way to some of the 70s greats on some songs. For example, the standout "Chromeless" starts out reminding me of an Oasis ballad and peaks with an elegaic chorus right out of the Mott the Hoople songbook. "The Hoxton kids are fighting, they don't know what it means ...."

Taste is a fine appetizer for the Capes' debut full length album, Hello, which is also now available Stateside. Anglophiles and fans of well-crafted, hooky pop songs alike should investigate.

-Gareth Bowles

Track list:
1. Francophile
2. Tightly Wound
3. Chromeless
4. Regional Heats
5. In the Mornnig
6. Galaxie Fraulein

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