Get Cape.Wear Cape.Fly – The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager

By paul

“This record just made the hairs on the back of my neck stick out straight away.” It’s not very often that Punktastic gets it right, but sometimes, just sometimes, we hit the spot. On October 14, 2004 – just two years ago – I reviewed Get Cape‘s first two track demo and that is how I described it. Rather apt, as it turns out, because those very same hairs stand out in the very same way with Sam’s debut album. A lot has happened during those two years, making ‘Chronicles…’ not only a perfect name, but an excellent concept to chart his rise to prominence. I guess it’s a good job this record delivers the goods – and then some.

Any regular reader of Punktastic will know all about Sam Duckworth, aka Get Cape Wear Cape Fly. A 20-year-old Southend chap with a punk DIY background, GCWCF started off as a one-man acoustic band avec laptop, but has slowly increased into a full-time band. He’s gone from touring using trains and buses to being snapped up by a major label and playing at Reading Festival. The rise is really something that dreams are made of. And for the many fans Sam has picked up along his journey, this is the tour de force – the record many people hoped he would make. It’s full of short stories and tales, full of corking choruses and huge hooks – a record that, rightly, will appeal to a large audience – the top 30 entry in the album charts is testament to that. But what makes a 21st century acoustic act so damn good?

Plain and simple, good tunes. ‘Chronicles…’ is choc-full of them. By the time the closing bars of ‘Chronicles (part 1)’ come round, this record will leave you ready to press repeat. There’s possibly just one, maybe two, songs that won’t have you singing along instantly. It’s a joyful record that’s both heart-warming and inspiring. But maybe more importantly, it’ll have you singing along with gusto. And this is despite a slow start – ‘One More With Feeling’ and ‘An Oak Tree’ are both slow burners and pretty weak in comparison with the record’s heavyweights. But once ‘I Spy’ spins, you’re in solid gold territory.

‘Lighthouse Keeper’ is cheerful and chipper, while ‘GCWCF’ is far, far superior to the original version, with the violin adding such a sombre feel before the sampled beats kick in. ‘Whitewash Is Brainwash’ is another oldie recreated for the album, but it sits in the middle of a slew of tracks which, one after the other, sound perfect. Single ‘Call me Ishmael‘ shows a slightly more mature side, while the closing ‘Chronicles…’ is the perfect end to a near perfect album. If there is a complaint to be had, it’s that there are a few ‘old’ songs here – but bear in mind many people won’t have the old EPs, this is a forgiveable offence.

I make no apologies for writing such a positive review as this CD is worth so much more than 500-words from me. For an underground artist to reach the heady heights of the major labels, and to then go on and make massive waves in such a short space of time, is a ray of hope for hundreds of bands who toil in the same toilet circuit, playing to the same old faces. While it may seem odd seeing Sam on MTV or the BBC his lucky break is well deserved. This record is already receiving critical acclaim and rightly so. Long may it continue.

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