Captain Black Beard - 'Captain Black Beard'

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Captain Black Beard - 'Captain Black Beard'

A melodic hard rock / pop rock gem.

An unsigned Swedish band, they wrote in asking if we would review their self-titled debut. Answering affirmatively the CD duly arrived almost quicker than from a UK address. Now, I have heard a lot of promos over the last couple of months (including far too many real clunkers), and this one had nothing about it to make me want to expedite my listen, coming as it does in a fairly anonymous digipack. But I did not delay – and so glad was I that I did not, for this is a melodic hard rock/pop rock gem, with eleven strong songs, performed with verve, enthusiasm and confidence. If Captain Black Beard remain unsigned for long, I will be astounded!

The quartet (Sakaria Björklund (vox/guitars), Victor Högberg (drums), Fredrik Svensson (guitar) and Robert Majd (bass)) formed as recently as late 2009and recorded this debut under the careful eye of David Castillo (Katatonia, Opeth, Enochian Theory) who has also done a wonderful job of mixing and mastering. Their self-titled album is a glorious amalgam of straight-ahead guitar-driven melodic rock combined with vocals from Björklund that have a warmth and clarity that makes this album an utter joy to listen to from beginning to end.

Now, having said that, I have found myself gravitating back time and time again to two adjacent tracks in the middle of the album: ‘Concrete Jungle’ and ‘Ex-Convict’.By the time that the former appears, I was already thinking of comparisons: for both the style of some of the music and of the vocal delivery, and with this track I absolutely nailed it: classic period Big Country. It’s a wonderful track! The latter begins with what sounds like slide guitar, but is probably just lead guitar with lots of vibrato: and had me thinking of the American wild west! Another fabulous performance with plenty of those Big Country references – but so much more besides. But there are just so many strong songs here, and nothing that comes even close to being a makeweight. The up-tempo goodtime anthems (‘Hey Man’ and ‘Don’t Turn Your Back On Love’) that open the album are immediate attention grabbers: and provide a lesson on how to kick an album off in grand style. Others should listen and learn!

Oh how I look forward to seeing Captain Black Beard play live and I am going to start a petition to Kieran and Bruce to consider them as an opening band at FireFest 2012. I am sure they would be excellent!In the meanwhile do go and investigate further at www.captainblackbeard.net. You will not be telling me I am wrong about them!

Paul Jerome Smith

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