Hidden Gems – Chapter 2 (Circus Of Morality) – Reviews
Cinemascopic epic, extraordinary and unique – Tom Robinson BBC6 Music
RnR Magazine – by Colin Bailey *****
Reviews from a small country
The hedonistic aroma of flamboyance and the fragrance of honest sawdust fills the surrounding air as you sit and reflect upon the grand treasure chest that has been opened with an enjoyable sweep of the arm and a gesture that pronounces with fervour that the parade continues, that in this second chapter of Hidden Gems, the Circus of Morality is one that truly lives up to its predecessor and deserves the big top moment to which it has been created for.
Dare to believe that the high wire in which the intrepid Captain Of The Lost Waves strides upon as each track plays out to the audience will hold, for in each exhaled excited breath, in each recognition of gasp and fortunes braved, the wire doesn’t just stay beneath the feet of this intrepid musical explorer, it turns and flexes like a muscle intent on showing the dexterity of the one who set their sights on creating magic.
It is in the return of Captain Of The Lost Waves that all is seen and felt to be serene, not plain sailing, such a notion would mean that the album has captured no regard for the imagination and drive that has been focused upon, instead it is an album that is full sail, all oars out and the sea in which it traverses one in which carries with it on board the full company of extravaganza and performance.
It is too the credit of all involved on the album that the music is exceptional, that the lyrics drive home the appearance of modern vaudeville, and that heady aroma is more than just enticing, it is the epitome of absolute welcome, the sign above the tent in which the music is playing is ablaze with colour and recognition of the star in which this particular captain has set his sights upon.
Across songs and decorated cinematic inserts such as Berlin Between The Wars, the excellent January, Mr Hollywood, Earworm and Pantomime, Circus of Morality reveals itself, each act introduced as though, and rightly, they are the star of the show. In this effect of emphasising and underlining the importance to the whole, the song becomes the ring master, the crowd and the band in a way that can only be called dramatic and special.
Hidden Gems-Chapter 2: Circus of Morality is not only an album which flies its flag prominently, it is one that stresses the importance of creativity, a ship that sails under a captain who understand this is one whose honour must be saluted.
IAN D HALL
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
While listening to Hidden Gems – Chapter 2 – Circus of Morality, the new release by Yorkshire-based entertainer and modern-day troubadour Captain of the Lost Waves, I was pleasantly reminded of Thomas Dolby. The maverick behind “She Blinded Me With Science” became known for an aesthetic style somewhere between David Bowie and Jules Verne, and often referenced technologies and ways of life from decades past. His debut album The Golden Age of Wireless is basically a love letter to the era when the radio, the airplane, and the submarine were all new and exotic, making Dolby an early adopter of steampunk in the ‘80s (granted, technology from around the ‘20s is now recognized as more diesel punk than steampunk, but if the very 1940s-flavored fantasy film Brazil can be cited as an influence on steampunk, so can Dolby.). Captain of the Lost Waves, with his dapper top hat and lyrics of nautical travel, comes off like an adventurer from some Edwardian-era novel—and showmanship is the name of his game. Just as comfortable with the bouzouki as he is with the synth, the Captain is a multi-talented force of nature.
In a wonderful bit of mood-setting, the opening track “Isles of Sopholore” starts with the sound of telegraph beeps, conjuring images of naval adventures. “Folksy” is one of the first words one thinks of when listening to Hidden Gems – Part 2, as evocative strings, accordions, and harmonies are employed to give the wistful feel of a sea shanty. But the Captain doesn’t remain constrained by just one genre or aesthetic, as the second track “Circus of Morality” is built around a piano melody that’s almost jazz-like. The album, remaining unpredictable, then works in an electronic beat for more of a trip hop sound during “Uniform,” with guttural lyrics of anger at the world reminiscent of ‘90s Depeche Mode. A somber trumpet kicks in during a beautiful instrumental bridge, adding to an impressive number of genre shifts in the first three tunes of the record. “Uniform” is a song about blazing your own trail and defying convention, a common theme of the album (and a creed the Captain lives by, as his circus-like show travels the U.K. like the carnivals of yore). While theatrical stage shows are a big part of this artist’s personality, the album does a successful job of emulating the feel of something live and loose—the tune “Mr Hollywood” has the soft feel of cocktail jazz in a club.
Like with The Dresden Dolls, much of the Captain’s attitude is based in the humor and swagger of retro cabaret theater, as felt in the album highlight “Pantomime.” With its upbeat lyrics about the inanities of life, “Pantomime” is joyful even when it gets moody, and a microcosm of the album as a whole. I await the Captain’s further adventures with bated breath.
Album Review: Captain of the Lost Waves “Hidden Gems: Chapter 2” by Jordan Cain
He has gained many fans and grown many alliances through his travels. He has confidence and humility and presents that within his songs.
The Captain of the Lost Waves is himself a Hidden Gem. There is no other like him, no one that even comes close. He is a breath of fresh air, a dazzling display of talent bordering upon clarity and insanity, but truly entertaining nevertheless. The Captain is a relentless visionary, a prophetic character, a fairy-tale, a musical anomaly, a phenomenon, and an explorer in the world of music.
Synthesis Review – Colin Bailey RnR Magazine 5/5 stars
For anyone unfamiliar with the artist’s name, he is a one off. A vaudevillian entertainer who is associated with the musical genre of steampunk, he has within that world a unique delivery, style and repertoire. His instruments of choice are the Bouzouki and Ukulele, and on a stage he is accompanied brilliantly and complementarily by ‘a mixture of gifted, musical fugitives’. But it would not matter what instrument he played: the persona, the voice and the songs are each unique and sensational. The CD (a miniature replica of a 331/3 rpm vinyl, encased in what resembles a boiled-sweet tin) is a superb package and is an introduction to the works of The Captain. Three of the tracks on Synthesis are his classic already-released singles – the quirky ‘Danger’, epic ‘Mr Many Men’ and dystopic ‘Another Planet’. He is a master at creating different moods and the five new tracks are evidence of that – as thelyrics of ‘Uniforms’ describe. ‘January’ is surely destined to be another popular, yet plaintive crowd pleaser. See him wherever and whenever you can – and buy this record!
Wow! That is all.
Honestly in the shows I have attended I have never witnessed anything quite like it”
Liverpool Sofar Sounds – Photograph by Olga Kozicka
Hidden Gems album review
Ever since the Captain strode onto the stage at Whitby Steampunk Weekend, I’ve been avidly following his moves. Waiting fervently for a copy of his album to review for the Journal. It’s finally arrived and I’ve spent the last two weeks letting the Captain’s smooth operatic voice slide into my ears.
Hidden Gems by Captain of the Lost Waves costs £12.00 and is available from the main website.
The album cover is a monochrome artist’s paradise of nautical and mystical themed art work. The Captain’s unmistakable profile silhouetted holds centre-stage. Interestingly the words “Chapter I” appear in the bottom right corner which suggests maybe an extension of the album or maybe a follow-up in the same styles and subject matter.
The silhouette on the front cover suggests a mysterious character and that’s quite true to form. All I know about him is that he’s from “the Wild Wild West of Yorkshire” as he so amusingly puts it. But he remains interestingly elusive that we don’t even know what town he’s from. With this ambiguous approach to his location, one could be forgiven for thinking he’s somewhat aloof. However his website and any online interactions suggest an amiable, compassionate and warm personality. Seemingly wise beyond his years, even the Captain’s off the cuff blog posts are enough to break out the Thesaurus. This approach to articulating such an obviously busy mind has transferred into the lyrics of Hidden Gems. But it’s not just the lyrics that are well thought out. You see anyone could arguably formulate a melody and backing track to go with some lyrics. But when you arrange a track to actually fit the theme of the song, that’s next level stuff.
That’s what the Captain has done with the opening track Grand National. The song is about life in general with observations about how we all run very different lives. But the rhythm of the song moves like the clip-clop of a horse. Rocking back and forth with the motion of a saddle. There are plenty of references to horse racing, and in particular the Grand National. Mentions such as the notorious Becher’s (Becher’s Brook fence) and the Chair as well as well-known horses such as Devon Loch. The latter being the horse in the 1956 Grand National. It was the clear winner until for some unknown reason it jumped into the air falling on its stomach. With 40 yards to go. That led to the second place horse winning.
While these notable mentions easily couple with other references such as Tipperary Tim (the 100-1 horse that won the 1928 Grand National when only one other horse managed to finish), ending up lame, neck and neck and photo finish provide a song laden with horse racing lingo, it’s done with a finesse not usually seen by other talented song writers. They tend to fail in the execution of this kind of thing, such as Lady Gaga’s Pokerface where the references to poker are stretched and garish.
Style & thoughts
The nine track album covers many different facets of life. With the nu-vaudeville style folk music, I can’t help but think that the Captain pondered these very topics on a warm September evening while moored in the fenlands, sitting atop his narrowboat smoking a pipe and watching the locals getting thrown out of the pub. These are the types of images conjured up in your mind as you listen to each thoughtful song after the other. Essentially, the Captain comes from a pre-industrialised Britain to tell us his stories. From people racing through life (Grand National) to the loss of critical thinking (Danger), to just simply wanting to remain in bed for the day and laze around (Happy in Bed). the Captain covers many aspects of life and echoes much of our own thoughts and observations.
The actual music is just as well thought out and been given the same attention to detail as the lyrics, album cover, artwork for the inlay, website and clearly every other part of the Captain’s persona. The folksy styles are similar in many respects to the earlier albums of Steam Powered Giraffe. But the album is unmistakably British in its content. While the actual topics can mean something to anyone in the world, the lack of the American twangy guitar and addition of accordion and flute bring it back home. Adding the Captain’s impressive voice to the music delivers a set of songs that will invoke a multitude of emotions. That includes humour as well. The album isn’t exactly dripping in comedy, but one of my favourite lines from the album comes from Mr Many Men where he quotes Chico Marx’s line “I wasn’t kissing her, I was whispering in her lips.”
With an average song running time of around the 5min 30sec mark, Mr Many Men sticks out like a sore thumb. At 28min 36sec long I wondered what the Captain could have to talk about for so long. However after the usual run time, the track keeps playing. After nearly ten minutes of silence we discover the “hidden gems”. Here are a collection of remixes including a gorgeous little Hawaiian number. These are arguably the hidden gems that the album alludes to. There’s also a copy of the Edith Piaf song that the Captain recently touted which features a video made by his son.
Hidden Gems album review conclusion
What to say about Hidden Gems that hasn’t already been said in this review? The Captain and his crew of brigands have taken the British steampunk scene by storm. The fact that even as part of a band, he can show up at an event alone and perform to hundreds of attendees as though he’s just walked into his living room speaks volumes. Clearly at ease with himself, his musical talent and using his voice to its full effect, the Captain is a gem himself. Hidden Gems can take you on a roller coaster of emotions from the lazy Happy in Bed, the melancholy of This is a Song, to the uplifting anthem of Mr Many Men that seemingly closes the album. That is until you discover the literally hidden gems ten minutes later.
Anyone who has seen the Captain perform will be fully aware of his talent. It has been passed onto the album perfectly. They’ll also be aware of his tendency to stop singing mid song, branch off like a Ronnie Corbett story and start having a chat with the audience. This usually extends a 5min 30sec song to around the eight or nine minute mark. Every track is faultless with lyrics that are twisted up in metaphor to a degree I’ve not seen since the early Stereophonics days. I can’t help but feel that there’s something bigger brewing.
Given the way the Captain conducts himself – the mythology of the character being some kind of godlike time traveller who passes on his stories of the world in song – I think there’s a lot more to him and this album that we’ve been let in on. Certainly at this moment anyway. I think the second album will give us more clues to a riddle we don’t yet fully understand. And hopefully some answers we don’t yet know the questions to.
I’m certainly looking forward to what the Captain has to offer over the coming years. In the meantime, this is a stellar album.
You can find out about the Captain of the Lost Waves via his Facebook page.
You can learn more about the album, tours, buy the album and other cool merchandise at the main website: Captain of the Lost Waves website
To see a performance by the eccentric enigma that is Captain of the Lost Waves.
With a personality bigger than the sun, The Captain shines just as bright.We sit there, enveloped in our Britishness….
What to expect from this figure in a feather embellished top hat and militaryish jacket?
I am reminded of The Mad Hatter’s tea party!
Pages from a diary laid open; poetry, prose, dialogue, bouzouki and song…..
And all of a sudden, there he is….. among us!
Him and his expressive face.
Playing with us.
Fretboard fingers, singing, laughing, with his amazing vocal range, flirting with baritone and falsetto in equal measure.
And still his expressive face!
We sit there, wide-eyed, caught in the headlights of intimate, engaging performance…..
Sit there we do, in our Britishness!
But wait, what’s this?
An all enveloping warmth of spirit, that tempts us from our indigenous reserve.
Part of us wants to rebel against this growing desire to become members of a ‘participative audience.’
Yet we are powerless to resist!
Even so, we have all been left behind, by two early, or late, ladybirds, who are drawn to The Captain.
They fly to him, alight on his face and jacket and so become part of theshow.
Such is The Captain’s power!
Before we know it, we are singing with strange voices, admitting, maybe confessing, that we love each other, while making sounds previously unknown to mankind!
We look at each other…..
‘This is different,’ we admit to ourselves.
We are clearly shedding the burden of our natural, very British reserve.
This is artistic, theatrical, musical emancipation of the soul!
There is more………
‘Holy poo,’ I think to myself…….
‘Did I just actually volunteer to play the kazoo?!’
Well, actually…… Yes!
And the jewels to be found in all this organised mayhem, are the beautiful songs and evident musicianship that grace the stage of The Captain’s world.
The last number, inspired by The Mr Men books, was an absolute triumph and made my throat hurt, with its beautiful sentiment and melody.
Captain of the Lost Waves!
This man is passionate!
And now, so do I!
His show is fun, funny, captivating, engaging, fascinating, fanciful, beautiful, enthralling…….
But most of all, it is liberating!
Go and see Captain of the Lost Waves….
His show is surely the antidote to feeling blue!
Just bloody brilliant!
Alan Rutherford, Madhouse Brewery Arts Centre
Captain of the Lost Waves has a style unlike any other indie musician I have ever reviewed. The band’s distinct musical stylings possess an interesting combination of antique and modern sounds
They recently released a new album titled Hidden Gems – Chapter 1 on March 8th. The musical genres of this album involve rock, progressive, experimental, and nu vaudeville.
The last genre mentioned is one I was not familiar with upon first learning of the band.
After doing some research, I learned this genre is based on 20th century performance entertainment consisting of specialty acts, such as burlesque comedy as well as songs and dancing. Furthermore, these acts were based in the United States and Canada.
What comes to my mind when factoring this information in are circus acts and freak shows of that time; or better yet the sad-face clowns with their satirical dispositions. Interesting, right?
Behind the scenes
Getting back to their album, it includes nine colorful, quirky tracks that shake up the imagination. As for the vocals, #The Captain and Taffinder are in charge of this area. The Captain sings lead vocals, while Taffinder does backup vocals, at least to my understanding. And they have some impressive pipes.
The Captain’s singing is powerful, harmonious, clear, and a bit playful. He sings as though he is performing on Broadway. It’s as if he is singing before a large audience, full of theatrical wonder.
In between the singing, there are moments of dialogue, which help add variety to the music.
As for the instrumentals, each member contributes in this area. For example, you can hear the sounds of bouzouki, ukulele, accordion, mandolin, banjo, guitar, bowed bass, and more. Together, they produce folksy, rhythmic sounds that pair well with the singing.
Since each song is very different from the others, the variety of instruments help bring out the unique essence of each track. Certain songs have particular sounds other songs lack, presenting artistry that is true to the nature of vaudeville.
As for the lyrics, they are imaginative, quirky, and sort of hard to nail down the exact meaning of. Collectively, the lyrics are all over the place, picking at peculiar aspects of life it seems. And they are the most profound thing about the band’s music.
The lyrical makeup of each song is like a separate nu vaudeville act, expressing the amusement and melancholy of human nature.
It’s clear the band is trying to take listeners to another world, while still managing to be down-to-earth.
Overall, I give this album a 9 out of 10 rating. My favorite song is “Summer” thanks to its mesmerizing vocals and acoustic melodies.
Innovation is, thankfully, the key to great success in the new age world of roots music. This innovation, of course, crops up in different forms, though we have seen it in the way that Sturgill Simpson wrapped his way around country with a soulfully alternative twist. We’ve seen it when Mumford & Sons first came onto the scene with their astoundingly arena-filling folk-rock thrills, and we’ve seen it in the genre-bending antics of modern quote-on-quote Americana bands like The Avett Brothers or The Accidentals. One thing is for certain though, and that is for when any of these artists have garnered any sort of repute, it has been for a contribution that could not only be seen as compelling in our glorious world of folk music, friends—but for a contribution truly unique.
Decidedly described as “Nu Vaudeville” and like something straight out of a bardly renaissance, our Captain of the Lost Waves seems to fit the bill rather handily. By handily, we meet rowdily, staunchly, and just like a soul-imbued romantic depiction of an actual seafaring captain. The aforementioned Simpson’s Sea Stories have nothing on just how fully immersed the Captain brings listeners into his swashbuckling world. He aims to bring laughs and true enticement to his audience, acting more like an aurally-dispersed masterclass play than any sort of standard musical release.
In that lies the foremost idea behind the Captain’s brilliance, but would you believe us if we said that it was also truly compelling for a listen unto itself? Somewhere out there in the world, his Hidden Gems are becoming not-so-hidden and it just makes sense for it to in some of the same ways that the soundtrack to Hamilton became such a sensation. This is pure musical innovation that tells a story, and it does so with the actual know-how and finesse of true, blue musicians. With each Celtic swing or romantic declaration, one can just tell just how much musical output was shoehorned into this work to make it something truly compelling and truly innovative.
All in all, this is one that you’re going to have to hear to really believe for yourselves. But, trust us—it’s good.
Words by: Jonathan Frahm, For Folk’s Sake
Like Ziggy Stardust or Sgt. Pepper, Captain of the Lost Waves belongs to that very singularly English tradition of musicians loosely masking their identities with alter egos. What separates the Captain, however, is that his real name, for now, remains undisclosed, and his new album Hidden Gems – Chapter 1 offers little in the way of clues. Although there exists definable cornerstones—the prog rock of Jethro Tull, the pop experimentalism of *Brian Wilson*—the band thrives more in that vague no man’s land, that abstract Venn diagram where goth, cabaret, vaudeville, and the circus all intersect.
The production is sparse, and the instrumentation obscure, like this is actually an album from a group of travelling gypsy troubadours recorded by a cultural anthropologist for posterity. Hidden Gems oscillates between the maudlin and melodramatic like “Summer” or “Another Planet,” and the playful and humorous like “Happy In Bed” or “Danger,” a self-deprecating ode to this planet’s plague of indulgent singer-songwriters. Above all, the album is heartfelt and sweetly sincere, never once verging into the pit of novelty or gimmicks into which it could so easily fall headfirst. Simply put, Hidden Gems is as beguiling as it is charming, and it leaves one desperately longing for a second chapter.
by Cody Conard The Big Takeover
Wow! Even from the very first, I was immediately taken by the Captain of the Lost Waves. Indeed these are some sound waves that have been largely lost to time, but thankfully traversed once again by the Captain. He’s come across some wonderful treasures, and has been nice enough to share some of those “Hidden Gems”.
There is some masterful melange of sea shanty, folk music, musical theatre, cabaret, and a bit of the bizarre in these “Hidden Gems” that really sets them apart from those typical stones, however precious they may be. The Captain‘s music is a whole other level above most of what I listen to, day in, and day out. And that’s not to denigrate any one of the musicians I have covered in the past. By no means. This is only to illustrate just how incredible the production of “Hidden Gems” is.
The stories contained in this epic album of eccentricity may not always connect with the listener, but they are regardless always interesting, and immense – in the sense of their intricacies, breadth of themes, ambient noise, and lyrically lascivious melodies. Now, there might be a ‘Danger‘ in pursuing the work that he is, but the Captain seems scarcely concerned about how others view him. One might say he hardly cares if one even takes note of him…but one would be hard pressed not to take note of him if ever one chanced to be in even relatively close proximity to him. It might even seem like this Captain is from ‘Another Planet‘, but…well maybe you should just check his music out for yourself.
Now perhaps ‘Danger’ about just how polluted our world is with would-be singer/songwriters (however ironic the production of the song itself might be), but of course the crux of the song comes in the line “we need more shepherds and not more sheep”. There is something of a ring of truth to that statement. Of course the opposite problem would hardly be good for anybody either. But it cannot be mistaken that the Captain is absolutely a shepherd in his own right.
Regardless, the Captain Of The Lost Waves has delivered, to those who have a care, “Hidden Gems“. So ‘Don’t Miss What’s Right In Front Of You‘, and check out this exceptional album in its entirety, right HERE. And if you have an inkling to better get to know the Captain, or maybe even join his crew (at the risk of becoming a sheep), then head right on over HERE!
Hailing from Yorkshire England, nu vaudeville act Captain of the Lost Waves has released a magical and inviting new collection of songs on their record Hidden Gems – Chapter 1. At times feeling like you are listening to a Broadway musical, Captain of the Lost Waves tries to make their songs as grandiose and full of life as possible, with tracks that resonate with listeners who are looking to listen to something off the usual path.
Opening with “Grand National,” we hear instruments such as guitars and a double bass, capturing the sounds of a song that could have been written in another era. Front man, Captain of the Lost Waves, sings with a confidence we love, though with a certain air about him that suggest his music and demeanor is something out of a storybook, which becomes apparent on the bands website after reading the group’s biography.
“Danger,” the records fourth track, has a playful but artistic flare about it, as the group keeps up the twists and turns that their songs provide listeners. Taking their audience through a musical maze, we never quite know what’s going to come up next on their latest effort. “Fat Freddy’s Fingers” is another delightful tune that shows off the bands musical confidence but also their creative side, which at this point in the album feels limitless. Bringing in sounds such as a piano, ocean waves, and Captain’s ghostly vocals, “Freddy’s…definitely feels different, while still maintaining the artsy vibe the band very much wants to express.
While the record stops at nine songs, the group leaves us with the song “Mr. Many Men,” kicking off with ocean waves and then Captain’s bold and musical voice that makes the audience feel like they are leaving a circus, and a good one at that. Purely there to entertain, Captain of the Lost Waves does a good job at engaging their listeners and from the looks of their social media presence, it seems like people are latching onto the group as well. Magical and fun, Captain of the Lost Waves will be a listening experience unlike anything you’ve heard before.
Listen Here Reviews
Louder Than War’s Eileen Shapiro interviews Captain Of The Lost Waves.
There are really no words created in the English language to describe the Captain. I’m sure that even if the Captain of the Lost Wave sailed the seven seas, he’d still be lost within a magical trance of music and song. Always in character, the Captain has just released some new wizardry entitled, Hidden Gems Chapter 1, a collection of nu-vaudeville, rock, mysteries, that are lyrically fascinating and melodically intriguing, a complete hidden treasure.
“An uncompromising vision shall always divide opinion, for such is the I answering conviction evident in the creation itself”. Based in Yorkshire, the Captain never does the same gig twice. Each show is unique, much like the Captain himself.
In order for someone to become a character, they have to bring something of their true self to the party. This guy is the real deal, but he’s more than that. He brings positivity into the darkest moments, through his prophetic powers, and self endured philosophies.
I was extremely fortunate to have a chance to speak to the Captain, about music, magic and the mysteries of life. If you’ve never read anything that I’ve written, here is a miraculous place to start. It’s spoken by the Captain, almost like a strange, yet inspirational kind of poetry.
Louder Than War: I know that you’ll be playing in Leeds on 25 May, so I’m going to try and catch your show. I know that all of your gigs are different, how long do they usually run?
Because this thing is intuitive a lot of the time, the album launch was nearly three hours. That was with backing musicians. I’m a bit like a casino, I have no exit sign or clock. I just go with it as I feel it. If the energy is good, the audience interaction, you feed off it. It’s a symbiosis. Often I have no concept of time, but I’ve had to be very disciplined with that too as well. The other musicians are usually dying on their feet at that point.
I realize that I don’t like anything routinely set out. That’s why I call the album, Hidden Gems Chapter 1, because I’m always creating so much that I thought if I just do one thing no matter how successful it might be, it was a thought to me that if it became successful, it might become like an albatross around your neck. The one thing I fear as a very free form artist, the fact of having to gig something because it gained some traction. I always thought to call it Hidden Gems Chapter 1, then you could have Hidden Gems Chapter 2. So that’s the one trick.
I can have a very disciplined idea of executing something to the spine of it, but I love to be able to figure and create songs on the spot with people. I love that. I suppose we all have to understand our own madness, and certainly mine is there. I never make it easy for myself. Sometimes I do say, ‘Why did I do that?’ It’s wonderful. It’s sort of messy in the most beautiful way. There’s a sense of cohesion in the sense that I’ve gone with the pure instinctive approach. It’s almost like an altered state of consciousness. Once I’m in that zone I don’t always recognize what I see, but I go with it. Usually I trust that process.
The people that have come to see me so many times, know that it’s always different. What it is, is what it is, so it’s the kind of idea allowing it to be free form, allowing it to be organic, but still being a little bit more structured. I have a strange fear of that word, and I always have. It’s always been there. These guys in the theater that do the same thing for three years in a row, it’s done beautifully, but it doesn’t hold any appeal for me. Doing the same thing night after night. I think it’s a curse for a lot of artists. People want the hits when you’re really big at one point. Nobody wants to hear new work, and you’ve got to play that. Everything has its own sense of polarity doesn’t it. No matter what we see it’s equally blessed and cursed. I always want it to be what I perceive it to be. It’s like an out-of-control puppy, that greets me with love.
You are probably up there as one of the most creative people that I have ever spoken with in my entire life.
Well, that’s an accolade isn’t it? I’ll take that with the grace it was sent. I had this from the creative point of view, little bits of industry stuff where I again felt straitjacketed by people. So I thought maybe I’d have to be a less successful artist, stick to my guns in some way because I didn’t think I could fit in.
People like Adam Ant, Culture Club, all those bands, had their own movement at the time. There was a lot more being steered by the artist. I think that wasn’t the same homogeneous thing now, generic idea of what they think we should be. I love so much darker, and the worthiness of how art is executed. But equally I look back to things that I loved as a kid, and remember things that I inherited from my uncle, like Laurel and Hardy. We’ve become so worthy of humor.
I was determined to not get too entrenched and lost in my own melancholy, which I think is my natural factory settings sometimes, and kind of go in the light, and let’s find a mix. Let’s take Stan and Ollie, and all those aspects of vaudeville and things that I’ve always loved. Music people that I’ve worked with just never got…you can’t do all these things…you’re trying to fit too many things into one box. In essence you end up as an outsider. You have to except that musicians sometimes don’t have that vision. It can be very frustrating, and there’s never been that sense of arrogance about that. It’s just who you are and if you perceive things a certain way.
I find there are very few visionaries in the industry, and even people who have been around in the industry. Where have all the visionaries gone? I do think things have become watered down. Going back to people like Adam, music had a vitality. That’s the beauty, I think it’s finding your own voice. Not being steered by these corporate boys who tell you to be like that. There is still great music being made, but I do find so much of it is very generic. Debra Harry, Talking Heads, they were brilliant. They had so much soul. Music has been very well technically made these days. I see a lot of great technical work, but I don’t feel a lot of soul.
Maybe with all of the free downloads, the artists feel in order to make money they have to create more, kind of like a factory.
I think it’s become so watered down. I have a friend who’s an old blues player, and he’ll always say to me: ‘don’t do anything that you can cut and paste’. You try and resistant it and that’s what Hidden Gems is all about. The idea of making the album, my ideal would have been possibly vinyl. How realistic is that? It’s a kind of truly bohemian venture as to how I’m going to do this as a smaller artist. I don’t mind though, the connection is true, because that’s what it’s all been about to me.
I use the word spirit. I’ve always believed from a young boy we are spiritual beings having physical experiences. That’s always been my feeling, so what was it that I was reaching for? What was it that music has brought into my life? It’s not any sort of religious infinity, it’s about the fact that when I talk about the spirit or a spiritual experience it can be that connection. I always felt that corporate things never worked for me. And you do go through your own beating up of oneself. Your self talk can be rather punishing, because I thought I just don’t fit in. These artists tell me it’s all about inclusion, it’s actually about exclusion. We call ourselves artists but then we create our own rules and rigid expectations about how it should be performed, you can’t mix that with this, you can’t do that with this. I think probably people like Adam and Bowie before him, said he was never a rock & roller, and I’ve always felt the same. You know rock & roll can be confined by these ideals as well. I think we’ve all become diluted along the way, and actually some of us wonder why, who and where is our audience.
I think that you are a very old soul.
That’s been said many times. That’s the connection I felt with you actually. The energy of what I see and what I’m feeling, I went ‘Oh wow, this is from some other place’. That’s what I mean by connected to spirit. You’re coming from a deeper dimension than most of the music writers.
Well I was excited to speak to you. There are no words to describe you. I haven’t found them yet.
That’s a quote worth it’s weight in gold. I always find with Captain gigs, people who come and become real fans, they say, ‘But how do I tell my friends what this is?’. Maybe that’s part of the beauty, and the fact that it’s hidden to the masses. One fan said, ‘it’s like my own private secret, I don’t want to share it with too many people’. I love that!
I’ve never been a drug user. I always felt that the trips that I take creatively always took me to another place. I joke with people and tell him that I’ve never done it to reach this place. People that see me at a gig, ask me how long I’ve been on mushrooms. Sometimes I felt that we were all but mirrors, that feeling of a lot of emotional narcissism. Being a frontman people have to compete because if you can work the energy in the room, and bring it together….then get two frontmen in a room and it’s like two strutting peacocks. I never felt that it should be a competition. But we’ve all been brought up to think that there’s not enough to go around. So again I felt very, very unplugged from that scene, to have a number 1 record, what would that mean? I kind of self-sabotaged.
That’s what I mean by the self-punishing thought, Eileen. Over the years I thought, maybe it’s just not going to happen for me, because I can’t seem to compromise. I’m very poor at compromise. I lost my father, he was 29 when he died. I was one. I grew up as somebody who was around death a lot, so I was aware that you can go at any time. Actually we are only bouncing on this earth for a short time so none of this really means all that much to me. So if you’re going to argue with someone about a headline spot, why waste all that time and energy on an exercise where in 100 years from now, nobody will probably remember who we are.
I couldn’t get into the drama enough. I’d probably get lost in it. Eventually I can start looking in the mirror at myself and go, ‘what’s all this about, it’s nonsense isn’t it’. That’s what I mean, it was always a self-sabotage of my own. Maybe that’s the path I had to take, I don’t know. People like Adam still had a certain amount of control in the arts. To me it’s like walking into a fridge. It doesn’t resonate with me. I feel a little bit of narcissism which had been caricatured through the idea that we’ve become greater than gods, our own self-importance. It’s never about me, I always say, ‘I’m here to serve you’. It’s giving myself up to a greater force. Far greater than my physical pursuit on this planet. Which is what I believe in anyway, whenever any great beauty of artistic expression comes from, which cannot be tangibly aligned to some idea that we are in control of it. Because I’m not and I never have been.
You should write a book.
Maybe. Maybe that’s the next thing. Combining those aspects of my life, maybe I should go be a monk in the hills. A lot of the aspects of Zen and a lot of spiritual aspects which I wanted to feel are embraced through music and have become almost dilute through music, so I thought where is the pure expression of all of that feeling? We find it in some music, haven’t we? I saw a fascinating documentary on Gary Newman. Again a lovely sweet soul, who seemed to be battered by the industry for years. But generally lovely man if you could feel it.
You’re the real deal.
What’s interesting for me again is it’s been a learning curve. I got involved in part of the steam punk community. The magic about steam punk is because someone said, ‘what genre are you?’, I’ve never had a genre. I reinvented myself anyway. This new invention came from having glandular fever. I was really, really unwell. I started to write things, and I put down this story, I’m a Captain, a Captain of the Lost Waves, and it was almost like, where am I going with this? What is it about that we’ve lost so many things?
I thought about community and people, and I thought the mad thing about this is the steam punk community. Here I am dressed as this character, and this role, it feels so real to me. Yet the people that connect with the authenticity of it are saying, ‘the outfit and the character is an introduction to what you are’. I thought that was absolutely intriguing.
Someone like Adam, he was dressed as a mixture of native American Indian and pirate, his passion for all those things that he went through when the band reformed Bow Wow Wow. All the Malcolm McLaren story, and what he created authentically, a fragment of all these pieces, somehow there was something real about what he truly felt about it. That’s what I feel about this journey. I always felt there’s no joy in it anymore. When you bring the joy and the madness and the child-like innocence, suddenly people truly see the whole thing. I find it absolutely fascinating that once you put a top hat on, people think ‘oh this is an act’. Actually it’s more real.
That’s been a learning curve for me. It’s intriguing that people from the steam punk scene say. ‘What was that?’ You make a connection with someone so deeply. People on the outside that are looking in, say ‘It’s a dress festival, isn’t it?’ The people on the steam punk scene remind me of those old music scenes where people were so organic. Because steam punk has no genre, it goes through all facets of anything is allowed. You can be whoever you want to be. You can wear a dress, make-up, not like the acoustic scene that I’ve been part of. It’s very prescribed. It’s curated by people who thought folk music should be this… Who are people to tell me what I should and shouldn’t be? I’ve never been aggressive. The only time I feel it in myself is when people tell me what I should and shouldn’t be.
You know what, I can’t buy into it. I feel restricted, like I can’t breathe. I walk away again. It’s like a child who recognizes the people who want to spend time with them, and the people who don’t. Children and animals recognize that greater than anyone. That’s why kids are so honest and so brave. They just connect to the Captain, it’s so great. The Pixar experience one reviewer called it. You can be eight-years-old and connect to it. We have this separation between adult and child. How we talk about things like sex. But the truth of it is, it hasn’t been validated. Children know we lie to them. My son is 12 this year, but Harry has always been to as many gigs as he can. We talk as truthfully as possible, while trying to retain the magic of what it is.
Is your son like you?
Yes, very much. He has a fascination about the whole Captain thing. He’s a wild energy actually.
Maybe I should be interviewing Harry.
Probably won’t be long, he’s very profound. Kids are our teachers. It’s not measured by a lifespan of years. It depends on how your experience is. Talking about prisons, they were far more people probably free in prisons. Self-imposed prison as we create for ourselves and our own mental issue. You go with personality and depression and all these things we have to deal with. I think I’ve always, I don’t know if it’s bipolarity but I always had that delving within me. So I gotta be aware of that within myself as well.
You want to know what I like best about you, I don’t even have to ask you a question.
There are always questions I guess, without even asking them. After I had glandular fever, there was this post counseling service. This doctor helps people on the physical aspects of dealing with an illness. He had an album of mine. His name is Leon. He said to me, ‘I have a lot of people that come and sit on my couch, and sometimes it could be really difficult to find the inner child. A lot of people tend to hide it. But you are an inner child, I’m struggling to find the adult’. He said, ‘When I asked the question, I never heard somebody give such an in-depth answer’. Then we got into past lives. He said that he believes there was a time in my life where I couldn’t speak. There are no boundaries. I’ve always felt very feminine at heart. I have a connection to what the feminine is. I’ve always been a very nurturing, to touch, to hold people. I’m always very physical in that sense, but also very aware of the British reserve, and people that I can read, that don’t want to be touched. That’s why I think that mothers have a job that a lot of women do, which goes unheeded. Mothers are another hidden gem. Often they are not as respected as they should be. I’ve got a 70% female brain, I did the secret of the sexes test. I remember with school friends would ask me if I was gay. I told him that if I was gay it will be no issue, I never had a physical attraction to other men. They would say, ‘You are a woman’, and I would say, ‘What does that mean?’ I see women give up so much in light of their families.
You know what, you are probably one of the most positive people. Talking to you, it seems that you turn all of your negative ideas into positive ones.
I said to you earlier that there has always been this polarity in life between a natural factory setting, melancholic and me. I lost many things in this life, so I try to see the beauty in things. I always felt like I was on borrowed time, which could be quite exhausting at times. In other ways though it would allow you to see things for the first time.
My battle in myself has always been this thing, even all the songs I’ve written over the years, as dark and despairing subject as it may have been, I thought, ‘How do I turn this into a positive’. We can’t wallow in our pain. This melancholy, that pulls me, it’s kind of romantic, like Wuthering Heights. That beautiful romantic nostalgia steeped in real pain is part of the human journey.
That mortal part of me, in this physical vessel, I feel completely and utterly restricted by the physical experience. I’m boundless somewhere. I always felt this since a child. I’ve never explained it. If I try to reach her through physical experience, it’s always going to frustrate me, so I have to find this in a boundless way. I know somewhere deep down, we are more than this. It’s the Beauty and the Beast, literally, can I still find beauty in the beast. Yes, yes it’s there! It wasn’t about what I can achieve, it’s about how I can serve others that I meet along the way? What’s the imprint we can have on each other? That’s a far greater thing than my name being on a plaque somewhere.
Again, that goes back to the album. I thought Eileen, at the start of this whole Captain adventure, and the tales I was coming up with, I thought they are all about the Captain, and that they were hidden. It wasn’t history that people where acknowledging. Then more and more I’ve realized over the years, that it wasn’t just the Captain’s tales, it was everyone I’ve worked with. It was some amazing artists, very sensitive souls. My favorite quote ‘be as powerful as the ocean, and lay just as low’.
I have to remind myself in an industry that obscurity is such an enemy, the artist has to be sane, you have to be selling out, and I thought where is the truth and beauty in all of this. We get lost in that journey. Part of my show where people stumble across me, fall in love with it. They think, ‘how come I’ve never seen this, or heard this?’ Maybe that’s just the point. You’re not supposed to know who the Captain is. Maybe this is your own private joy.
Louder Than War
MUSIC REVIEW: Captain Of The Lost Waves’ Hidden Gems
Yorkshire, England’s Captain of the Lost Waves offers up a truly sparkling collection on their new release Hidden Gems. The ensemble bills themselves in the “Nu Vaudeville” genre, but they prove themselves something far greater than that across the 9 songs on this album.
These tracks strike a seemingly impossible balance. Somehow, they manage to mix Lumineers-style folk-pop charm with seedy Tom Waits grit with sweeping melodies reminiscent of Tin Pan Alley.
A standout track is “Another Planet,” which serves as an apt representative of the album as a whole. The title is appropriate. The track, like the rest of the album, does indeed create a new world of its own. This is accomplished in part by instrumental arrangement and performance.
These songs have a dense instrumental texture built on the likes ukulele and bouzouki glued together with pumped reeds like harmonium and accordion. It’s a perfect foundation for melodica-like leads and for the Captain’s expansive vocals. His lyrics are the language of these little worlds. They’re impassioned tales of people, places and times with no need for (and no interest in) trend or cliché.
|The world created on this album is an older world and less self-conscious than our own. It’s a world that’s happy to welcome you in or happy to watch you walk right by. Hidden Gems is the collected work of a songwriter who has pulled together elements of pace, form, performance, and style and melded them into a singular voice. It is a synthesis of ideas that will keep the listener searching again and again for the next shiny rock under their imaginary hob-nail boot.|
by RTT Staff Writer, RTT News
With a true theatrical flair, Captain Of The Lost Waves displays an uncanny knack for spinning beautiful storytelling on the lovely “Hidden Gems”. Instrumentally rich the way the songs unfurl show a true talent for form. Over the course of the album the melodies shimmer in the distance as the passionate vocals take center stage. By opting for such an approach Captain Of The Lost Waves is able to bring a vaudeville temperament that incorporates folk, country, big band, and a little hint of classical into the album.
“Grand National” begins the album on a majestic note, setting the tone for what follows. The multi-faceted sound works wonders in creating a hopeful uplifting message. Far more mysterious is the eerie surrealism of “Another Planet” with a twee sensibility incorporated within the folk leanings. Rather playful is the giddy energy of “Danger”. Easily the highlight of the album the jaunty tempos works to the song’s benefit, punctuating the absurdity buried deep in the song’s DNA. Pastoral sounds emanate from “Summer”. Offering a genteel buildup of sound is the spirited “This Is A Song”. Breezy and bold is the passionate “Mr Many Men”. “Afterlife” chooses an atmospheric style, letting a toe-tapping rhythm anchoring the entirety of the piece. Ending the album off with true grace is the finale of “Grand National Reprise” whose honeyed choir brings it to a close.
Positively teeming with life, Captain Of The Lost Waves chooses the path less traveled on the life-affirming “Hidden Gems”.
By – beachsloth.com at skopemag.com Diverse Music Media For The Digital Age
Vintage Britpop, carnival or cabaret — Captain Of The Lost Waves’ sound keeps you guessing, or maybe it’s all of them, all at once. Certainly, there are recognizable influences from Peter Gabriel to Jethro Tull, with a little Jacques Brel and the Beach Boys thrown into the mix.
If there is steampunk pop, then I never knew about it before. Captain Of The Lost Waves is an underground musical hero from Yorkshire, UK, who is finally getting a little exposure to the wider world. This collection of eclectic tracks seems to include songs from the last couple of years, many of them accompanied by charming animations.
Another Planet was his first single. This is the Jack Hobbs radio edit mix, animation by BAFTA award winners Fettle Animation. A modern take on music hall, using black and white animation. You can see where I mention the steampunk influence.
His live shows are unpredictable, each one unique, with audience involvement required. They’re often site specific, held secretively on a who-you-know basis.
The songs include a theatrical touch, like Happy In Bed, which starts with a clock ticking and the sound of snoring. He sings of toast and wanting to stay just where he is in a melodic tenor. There’s a whimsical sensibility, and a daft sense of humour. To a pleasantly Celtic-ish roots groove of acoustic guitar and penny whistle,
This is a song
Nobody wants to hear
This is a song
You’ll forget long before you care to remember
This is a song
I’ll tattoo across your chest
For this is a song…
As befits a release of Hidden Gems, there are four hidden tracks on the album. If you like the theatricality and storytelling, then you’ll love this imaginative release.
Anya Wassenberg Art & Culture Maven
Creative force and true original artist Captain of the Lost Waves has unleashed in his brand new recording, entitled, Hidden Gems – Chapter 1, a spectrum of vaudeville and interactive performances that will be sure to engage the theater-goer in you. Comprised of members, Captain of the Lost Waves (voices, bouzouki, ukulele), Murray Grainger (accordion, accordina), Tony Taffinder (mandolin, banjo, bodhran, guitar, voice), and Dave Bowie Jnr. (double bass/bowed bass), the Captain really shows his showmanship in these spectacular renditions of “Nu Vaudeville” and “Renaissance of the Bard” in this setlist. He setups the stage, acting as if the members were a part of his circus and he is the ringleader, as he shows his chops in leading this macabre outfit in showcasing a group of highly contagious songs.
Hidden Gems – Chapter 1 opens up with “Grand National” that starts out with a whispery beginning that eventually reels you in by the increase of volume. The upbeat track has the every appearance of theater with an eerie and artistic element pervading the entirety of the song. The bizarre theatrics continue as the endearing interplay of magic and the fantastical gets played out with great storytelling. It all, therefore, plays out for an enriching experience as audiences make an exquisite connection with the performers.
“Another Planet” gives off an otherworldly experience as the intimate and engaging storytelling format piques with tales of adventure and out-of-this world guises. Not entirely tied down to any particular genre or style, this track is a blend of elegance and great flow.
On “Happy In Bed,” the track starts off with the sound of the clock ticking and of a sleeper happily snoring away in bed. The blaring of the alarm sounds next as it alerts the sleeper to wake up. As you have an earful of this vaudeville stance, the charming aspect to the song as well as the tinkling of mandolin and the stirring stint from the accordion adds a quaint aspect to the track.
The sounds of police sirens at the start of the fourth track, “Danger” indulges in the pulsing themes of urgency and threat. But the Captain smooths over this by humming along with the percussions in a series of (lalalas). This sort of gimmicky layer adds some highly illustrious imagery and details, asking us to use our imagination in the depiction of these narratives.
“Summer” is an ironically grim and hypnotic track filled with sensuous descriptions about the crest of summer overcast by gothic overtones. With an enthused chorus and intricate harmonies, this haunting and dreamy soundscape continues to entice audiences on this magical journey through the sonic treasures that is Hidden Gems – Chapter 1.
The piano-based “Fat Freddy Fingers Part 1” has the Captain singing with a theatric flair. He really brandishes his vocal quality as listeners will hone in and really relish in the drama. There is an archaic quality to the instrumentals as the daring sound filled with grim, dark clad aspects harkens to a gypsy-inspired type of atmosphere.
“This Is A Song” is a pensive, introspective track filled with many a thoughtful nuance. The speedy execution in which these lyrics are dispensed are done so in an engaging sense of implementation. The sparse, minimalistic approach examines the idea of a ‘song.’ A poetic and upbeat track, it has a flirtatious and eccentric vibe.
Hidden Gems – Chapter 1 is filled with quirky tunes and many an endearing oddball moment. This is apparent in such tracks like the ballad-driven “Don’t Miss What’s In Front Of You,” where the Captain really belts out the lyrics to this soaring romantic track with a moral to it: live in the moment and “Mr. Many Men,” a rock-driven upbeat and catchy ditty.
Hidden Gems – Chapter 1 also contains some hidden gems of its own with hidden tracks like the exquisitely detailed operatic “Fat Freddy Fingers Part 2,” “Afterlife,” the upbeat, ironic track that fancies death, “Ce Qui Est Devant Vous,” the romantic French song that will have you dreaming under that stars, and “Grand National Reprise,” a light and upbeat track that will have you humming along to it.
Captain of the Lost Waves concoct a blend of highly indulgent tracks as these wordy tracks will give audience something to contemplate over. The expository and the highly illustrious imagery will have listeners dreaming away with their heads in the clouds. These colorful tracks filled with the spectacular and the carnival are time-attested, filled with artistic renderings of detail and imagery. Hidden Gems – Chapter 1 is a series of ill-contained tracks that will gradually have you grasping to the armrests of your chair as you sit on the edge of your seat listening to these delightful narratives. Be sure to get your copy today. 7.8/10
My Nguyen, withguitars.com
Captain of the Lost Waves
Hidden Gems – Chapter 1
The album kicks off on a folksy minstrel vibe. ‘Grand National’ is a warm ode to the outsiders of the world, bathing them in a golden, optimistic glow. Mandolin and accordion score this jaunty yet reflective ditty. ‘Another Planet’, a romping nouveau gypsy number is featured in a Persepolis style monochromatic short film. The video chronicles the adventures of the song’s characters in wonderfully surrealist fashion. A slick businessman comes to town, infiltrates the population then once in their midst, sells off all its natural wonders and replaces them with earth scarring industries leading all the boys and girls to blast off in search of the next inhabitable world. A timely commentary to be sure. The song itself is a brilliantly produced piece of doomsday polka.
The other fantastic video is for ‘Danger’, a particularly pointed jab at the narcissistic nature of the overwhelming number of singer-songwriters. The stop-motion video depicts a dangerous epidemic of pretentious, overly dramatic artists all bemoaning their petty troubles when they are in fact, stupendously entitled. The snappy, uber-sarcastic lyrics boast great lines like: “The song would be over but there’s not enough of me yet in it!”. Bam!
Hidden Gems – Chapter 1 is indeed that. This album is full, start to finish, of wonderfully quirky tunes that I just don’t have enough time to fully get into in a short article like this. The Captain takes your view of daily life and turns it on its ear, forcing you to reexamine your preconceived notions, all in a joyful mood of levity. Check this album out, it’s a treat. And don’t skip out on the videos!
Finding Hidden Gems with Captain of the Lost Waves
Captain of the Lost Waves delivers a truly refreshing and engaging sonic experience with their newest album Hidden Gems: Chapter 1.
If Nu Vaudeville ever becomes the next big trend, Captain of the Lost Waves are at the forefront with their infectious, gothic-esque, epic and quite elaborate display of creative talent.
Think spirit of the bard combined with exciting arrangements of mandolin, ukele, bouzuki, accordion and accordina, double and bowed bass, banjo, bodhran as well as the more traditional elements of guitar.
Combine that instrumentation with enthralling vocal stylings and harmonies, a little Jethro Tull rock attitude, and the pop appeal of the Beach Boys and you end up with something truly unique and original.
This is more than just music. This is an experience.
If you are ever able to catch Captain of the Lost Waves live, I hear it is quite the innovative and engaging experience.
Connect with Captain of the Lost Waves on their official website.
Hidden Gems: Chapter 1 is streaming on Soundcloud! Be sure to check out the below videos.
If I were to pick a favorite track, I would say Danger is my current one. However, the entire record is awesome!
Middle Tennessee Music
With Captain of the Waves eclectic foreign sound ringing in listener’s ears, the themes of the ocean, life, and serenity are all present in Hidden Gems-Chapter 1. The strong voices throughout the album set the tone comparable to that of storytelling and the narrator setting up the scene. Compared to a “a cabin crew” of musicians, the sounds of the accordion, double bass, mandolin, banjo & miscellaneous percussion encompasses a wordly sound centered as well on the sounds of the Bouzouki and Ukulele.
A ‘cabin crew’ of accordion, double bass, mandolin, banjo & pitter patter percussion adding to the Captain’s voices, accompanied by his Bouzouki/Ukulele, were the nucleus of the noise evident on the debut album. Captain of the Lost Waves combines the traditional sound of black cabaret with the stories of a traveler in a planned and intentional way that informs listeners that their ambiance has been no mistake.
Like imagining Charlie Chaplin with the voice of Freddie Mercury! Glastonbury Fringe Festival
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
Theatre is as much about experimental as it is the reliance on the original and the long standing, the deep rooted and the childhood memories of how fresh the mature and seasoned felt when you first experienced it. It is the playful and the daring to look behind the curtain, the realisation that Dorothy Gale was wrong, there was no conjurer and purveyor of cheap illusion hiding in Oz, it was magic all along and magic that drives the sensational and theatrical to unveil its Hidden Gems.
The Adventures of Captain of the Lost Waves’ Hidden Gems are to be treasured, the theatrical encounter upon first entering a strange world, a land of emeralds encased in diamond and preserved in amber, the reflection dazzling but sincere and the face in the mirror only able to speak truth, that the crew of this particular ship are sailing into uncharted waters with faith in abundance and the satisfied looks of those cheering them deep in their hearts.
With guests on the album such as Liz Shaw on dancing terpsichorean trumpets, Pete Earnshaw on percussion and Emily Ingham on violin, Murray Grainger, Tony Taffinder and Dave Bowie Jnr. ride the crest of the wave into a strange land where the theatrical reigns supreme and the curtain is raised, the illusion made real and lost and lonely gather round in comfort and enjoyment.
Hidden Gems, an album of brightness shrouded in mystery and intrigue, of ancient tongues delivering a beautiful sermon and where the dance is expected to be joined in full; this dance, a widdershins jig, a movement of souls colliding, is brave, well thought out and easy to love.
In tracks such as Another Planet, the fantastic and heart thumping Danger, Fat Freddy’s Fingers, Mr Many Men and Don’t Miss What’s Right In Front Of You, The Adventures of Captain of the Lost Waves puts on a show that rivals the star attraction in the theatre, one that is emblazed in lights and the dramatic and yet never once strays into the artificial or the dismally unbalanced realm of the pretentious; this is where the curtain is pulled back and what is really driving Oz is Dorothy’s soul, Ozma’s pragmatism and the Wizard’s glee.
A fantastic album, utterly brimming with desire, Hidden Gems is revealed and passionate, a master class of imaginative album recording.
Ian D. Hall
Captain of the Lost Waves – Hidden Gems Chapter 1 REVIEW (pre release album Ltd Edition available from 19th Nov)
“Are we in kansas?”
For a Pasolini on a ukulele an album is far too small a format. For the captain- a man with Busby Berkley scale ideas this collection of music seems more of an entire evening than an album. Its more of a fantastic voyage around imaginary volcanic islands than a normal, run of the mill EP.
Its musical peyote or whatever Lewis Carol was on. Hallucinatory audio theatre.
Choruses of drunken sailors, East German mandolin worriers, Bavarian bouzouki fondlers and well chaperoned sheep- they’re all here. Music buffs and scholars of the Bauhaus will also no doubt enjoy a rare use of snoring at a certain interval in the voyage/evening.
The songs are built upon sophisticated arrangements that would collapse under their own weight if it wasn’t for the technically flawless almost invisible production and delicious musicianship that runs throughout.
I think its VERY English but an Hawaiian might insist it has a definite touch of the palm tree/pineapple about it and claim it for themselves!
The quality of the songsmithing and a certain ‘kindness’- a tender sensitivity means the potential audience demographic is Beatle-esque.
Post modern folk music free to borrow from any stringed, sail or wind powered instrument ends up demonstrating the links and similarities between the different branches of international ‘traditional’ music.
Impish Hungarian tunes sashay around the room on the arms of Irish fiddle melodies whilst Otto Dix’s piano player adds a soupy, mockingly jovial circus rhythm which is far too melancholy to actually dance to but we dance nonetheless. Its hard not to sway when the ground is moving.
I cant single out a favourite track anymore than I could chose between the ghosts of past faithful sheepdogs. Its impossible. I’ve hummed all their choruses at various points during the last week – in showers, whilst watching a cauliflower cheese pirouette in a microwave and on the M1. I’m humming now whilst I write.
What a world we live in in which there are people who can do things like this?
I am extremely fortunate to have heard this music before its official public release. You know that feeling when you’ve managed to buy someone you love the most amazing present but you have to wait till their birthday? And you smile because you know what joy is instore for them? You know whats coming? And they don’t? That’s how I feel.
This record/evening is special and contains melodies that will get under your skin and haunt you like a weathered tattoo of your favourite dead sheepdog’s name.
B. Longpencil 2016, Gigwise
And so he arrived, the enigmatic Captain, armed just with a wireless headset mic and a Bouzouki/Ukulele under his arm. What was to follow was a promenade performance, the likes of which I can find no equal or comparison. To experience a COTLW performance is to find yourself in Alice’s pocket. A glorious journey through a wonderland of mischief, sonic majesty and fearless exploration. Captivating the audience in the most unique of fashions, the nearest I can get to a description is cross between a minstrel and a bard. His skills are so complex and rare yet ultimately universal., hence they are impossible to describe in the limited expression of language. Huge charisma and had the audience of around 250 people in the palm of his hand, this performance was undoubtedly the highlight of the festival for me and many more!
ASYLUM FESTIVAL, LINCOLN – audience reaction reviews 2016
What a superb night of quality songwriting and performances.
Wow I have honestly just been blown away by Captain of the Lost Waves
What an incredibly unique act he has developed, such an important key part of this experience. The set tonight transported me to another world, a world of vaudeville, variety and steampunk. Joy, reflection and hilarity; sing a long melodies, and soaring falsettos with allusive and sometimes whimsical messages.
He is a master at genuinely involving the audience and seamlessly moved between us all, playing his bouzouki or ukulele (exceptionally) and occasionally stopping mid-song to reflect and say something tangential and hilarious or thought-provoking or both. His image makes me think of steampunk – top hat and tails, with combat boots and a purple ribbon on his arm and red kerchief around his neck.. The songwriting is awe-inspiring – his melodies grab you instantly and we all sing along effortlessly. The chord changes point to a deeper darker underbelly but he skirts away from darkness deftly and beautifully.
I am inspired and very very impressed. Some performers make you feel uplifted and energised when you see them and have that special gift. I feel like I have witnessed something very special tonight. Thank you David Robertson-Brown for another spectacular Acoustic North Evening at Glyde House, with Captain of the Lost Waves – Tues 28th June
Donna Marie Bottomley Glyde House Reviewer
**** “I don’t think I’m made of that stuff,” laments the singer-songwriter styled only as the Captain. The doubt’s right there, in the lyrics of one of his beautifully heartfelt songs – yet if “that stuff” is talent, then the man we see in front of us clearly exudes it from every pore. Let’s be clear about one thing first: The Captain really can sing. I don’t just mean he can sing in Fringe terms – I mean he has a voice you might hear on a West End stage, or here in Edinburgh at a recital in the Usher Hall. **** RICHARD STAMP, FRINGE GURU (Edinburgh Fringe Festival)
***** ‘Now this was a curio of time-travel theater. His Good Ship has landed at Space Triplex for a short run and yesterday I was called to witness his melody, muse and weirdness. Fifty minutes of nautical mysticism brought to life with a genuine apparition of a Spirit Galleon’ ***** MARK ‘DIVINE’ CALVERT, MUMBLE CIRQUE (Edinburgh Fringe Festival ).
***** ‘The Captain knows how to keep an audience engaged. Not only through his songs (one of the best singers I`ve seen); the audience participation who gets to be part of the show and the chorus (I was lucky enough to get a kazoo); his stories from a rather heavy book from which he kept tearing pages for our amusement’.
‘Favourite show in the Fringe this year. Fun songs for people of any age and all the family that will make you smile. A great whimsical character and an hour isn’t long enough! I recommend it to everyone!’
‘An incredibly funny and charismatic talented man ‘
‘What splendid deliverance of an outstanding performance! 5* Become immersed in the captains adventures through time and space, through heart felt storytelling and deep and meaningful songs, that will have you singing and tapping along in minutes, in this unique and unusual show ‘
‘ No fanfare, no announcement, no “make some noise” for the Captain. He’s there waiting in the dark with us and he calmly steps forward when his audience is settled. He gives us a brief introduction about his cosmic journey and begins the first of 7 beautifully crafted songs, all of which you are encouraged to sing along with. It’s ok, you will feel compelled and unabashed.His stage persona suggests we accept him and his stories at face value. Tales of musical collaborations with Edith Piaf and Captain Rickard are mesmerising. As the audience accepts his word we believe his tales from outer space about meetings with names we have never heard’ ***** EDFRINGE.COM
The Captain is not just the finest of singers & musicians ( a voice of such operatic sonorous beauty & effortless volume,coupled with a diction which equates & deviates as imagining Buckley, Sinatra, Ferry & Bush in a rotating barbershop quartet.
That it is both frighteningly life affirming & emotively solar plexus punching in a raw unamplified state,has one questioning if their ears are believing what is being heard?
Capable of veering between heartfelt & vaudevillian with a comedic timing only afforded to a chosen few.
Possessing a gift for creating songs of such nuance,depth, complexity & melody,though shot through with the most translucent simplicity & integrity which instantly arrest your heart & mind.
He is poet, comedian & storyteller all in equal measure. To see it is to believe it.
To not see it is to try only imagine it” The Printers Playhouse, Eastbourne – audience reviews and reactions
Mrs Yarringtons is overjoyed with pleasure to announce the return of The Captain. For those who have seen him at Mrs Y’s or last years The Big Green Cardigan he needs no introduction. For those who haven’t how to describe it? as one reviewer said, ‘Watching a ‘Captain Of The Lost Waves’ performance is like trying to describe the colour number nine’ and I think that says it all. Deliciously bonkers, eccentric and impossible to categorize.Through operatic scales to eerie chorale voices, hypnotic rhythm’s to confessional and emotive lyrics and haunting melodies we ultimately come to the conclusion that the Captain is a man not content to sit still as he travels musically, physically and mentally, ultimately avoiding destination drudgery. Were he not one of the great contemporary lyricists he would no doubt be hailed as one of the great modern poets or thinkers of our time.
This really is one not to miss.
‘From the greatest show on Earth some of the greatest stories never told…..’MRS YARRINGTONS MUSIC CLUB, BATTLE/THE BIG GREEN CARDIGAN FESTIVAL, SUSSEX
Simply the most unique and inclusive of performers. To witness his craft, particularly in a live setting, where each new expression for each new audience seems to be executed right there on the spot, in a truly intuitive sense. An exemplary vocalist and musician, storyteller, poet, philosopher and clown, his is a show which is so bewitching and bemusing it seems the least one can do is to describe it as an accepted form of alchemy. FAT TUESDAY MARDI GRAS FESTIVAL, HASTINGS
One of the greatest songwriters this country has ever produced. JIMMY RICE AUTHOR