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CAPDOWN – Wind Up Toys (CD, Fierce Panda)

Posted: February 5th, 2007, by Simon Minter

From the illustration on the front cover (businessman with briefcase, with clockwork winder emerging from his back – do you see?) to lyrics such as these…

“Music ain’t the only means of venting our frustrations
But we can use it to provoke some emotion
Apathy is taking hold of our jilted generation”
(‘Generation Next’)

“Some say that they are ravers
Some say they’re rock and roll
But I for one like music based on
quality control”
(‘Wind up toys’)

…it’s clear that Capdown have a chip on their shoulder about something, and across its twelve tracks, this album is almost relentless proselytising. They want us to get what they’re telling us, but what that is doesn’t seem to be exactly clear. It seems to be something about there being a lot of fakers in the music industry, and a lot of people somehow not living their lives with the same free spirit as they.

Now that’s all fine, I don’t have a problem with it being reaffirmed that the world, and the music industry, isn’t the most honest, truthful or original place. But a small alarm goes off somewhere when lyrics like…

“…up until now all you seem to put out
Is a badly played version of Blink meets No Doubt”

…when it’s tied to such derivative ska-punk as is scattered across this album. Putting these double standards aside, and accepting the fact that Capdown may have been doing this stuff for long enough to have at least some longevity points, there are some perfectly solid songs here. Angry-sounding guitars and clanging rhythms are tied to the odd sax squonk and that immediately familiar wailing vocal style so favoured by our ska-punk brethren, but it’s not all so one-dimensional.

In its less vocally-reliant passages, the music here can be thunderingly engaging. At times – such as hardcore-styled ‘Thrash Tuesday’ or the riffed-up ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ – Capdown show some different sides to their seemingly singular style. It just seems to not quite ring true that this album, proclaiming vociferously the downfall of modern music/the world, sounds like the work of so many other bands. Are they bringing down the system from within, or naively contributing to the very things they seem to be railing against?

Fierce Panda

Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


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