Back in March last year I made my way to the Tuning Fork to catch a three-band bill, one of whom was Capital Theatre. At that point I had not heard any of their material, so was mightily impressed to discover they had recorded a concept album for their debut with Mike Clink (Guns ‘n’ Roses, Megadeth, etc) in America, and that night they were playing it in sequence. Having heard it I was just blown away, and searched out their incredible videos online, and was able to see them again a few months later before we went into lockdown. Ah yes, Covid. Not only did it interrupt the recording sessions and mean a mad dash back to Aotearoa, but the continued lockdowns mean the guys delayed the album release until they could get out and promote it properly. The result is the album was officially released today, but many of the songs are already like old friends.
The trio of Paul Reid (drums), Adam Stevenson (vocals, keyboards, guitar), and Roy Oliver (guitar), have together created a masterpiece of melodic commercial progressive rock which is a delight from start to finish. It is bombastic, delicate, in your face or sitting a little way, and gently inviting in the listener, always wrapped up in wonderful songs containing strong hooks throughout. When People was released as a single, I was recommending the video to everyone as it perfectly captured what the song was all about, with pummeling drums at the beginning with strident guitar chords, then as it settles down, we have a delicate keyboard background but when it gets to the bridge it just lifts and lifts. It was just pipped for the #1 slot in my Top 10 for 2021, but it was a close-run thing indeed and is a song I still play regularly. Another which is often on my playlist is the dramatic and powering Force To Fight which is a great example of how the guys use significant contrast and space within their music. The introduction is blasting, but suddenly it all drops away and we are left with Adam pitching his vocals against the bass, with drums in the background and the guitar just coming in and out. Then we get to the chorus and the bombast is right back center stage before falling away again. The incredibly powerful video for this feature sworn enemies in a boxing ring and is again well worth investigating.
Due to the delay in release, there have been more singles released ahead of time than would normally be the case, with Fire being another which massively impressed me at the time, and again slots well with the rest of the album with loads of melody, great vocals, and the twists which make this such an exciting band. 10 songs, and to be honest pretty much all of them could have been released individually, but Delicately Poised is the one which has probably had most impact given that it has been streamed more than 12 million times now. It is a strong example of their sound, with Adam’s vocals right at the front, Paul incredibly active and providing a real groove at the beat which is way more than just keeping time and Roy throwing in the shapes and sounds which provide the color. They are experts at ensuring there is space in the arrangement when the time is right and packing in a wall of sound at others, so there is plenty of contrast within their attack.
Melodic, and commercial, this album is a blast from beginning to end and I can’t wait to see them in concert again next month when they return from their American showcase gigs. Bring it on! 10/10
by Kev Rowland