Captain: This Is Hazelville

It’s not that bad, but then again it’s not really that good either

There exists a place in-between dimensions, in-between good and bad and right and wrong, where nothing moves, nothing changes and nothing actually exists. Some people call it Hell, some people call it Radio 2… all I know is that I’ve listened to ‘This Is Hazelville’ about 27 times now, and though I’m enjoying most of the songs and may listen to it another 27 times, I still can’t work up a single opinion on it. There’s no Wikipedia entry for where ‘…Hazelville’ might actually be and likewise their name itself is a sturdy, old-fashioned noun that means they’ll remain forever unGoogleable. It’s like this daydreamy London quintet are trying to get through their debut without you even noticing they’re there. Which isn’t to say that it’s twee or half-arsed, it takes great skill to finish up with something this inert, and Captain have on their side a fistful of geniunely lovely songs – though not many that better ace singles double ‘Broke’ and ‘Glorious’.

It comes produced by Trevor Horn, king of the glacial synthesizer, but while Horn established himself by making silly dramatic music sound man-made and modern, his sheen here just makes everything sound even more tasteful – which from a band who take their stylistic leads for ’80s pop songcrafters Prefab Sprout and indie shamblers Ooberman, is no mean feat. So yes, there’s nothing to hate about ‘…Hazelville’, but not a lot to die for either. The upshot is an album that you’ll put on, quite enjoy and forget to take off. It’s a strategy that could make Captain very rich.

Dan Martin

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