Well if the chance to see Shearwater in Bristol wasn’t enough, I noticed that support was from none other than My Sad Captains.
Now I burbled on about these chaps back in 2008 and 2009 but then they rather slipped off my radar and I missed the second album and other fancies took their place. It seems they had a little interregnum of sorts too but here they are now signed to the peerless Bella Union roster.
So stupid us turned up just for the later part of their set at The Fleece and so got just a tantalising taste of what they had become. I nabbed a copy of Best of Times from bass player Dan Davis from the rickety table that acted as the merch stand and promised to give it some time.
The chaps have been busy honing their skills and Best of Times is just that, all the qualities that drew me to them all that time ago but with added ‘sposh’. The echoes of Pavement are still there a little, but more now the flavours of Sea and Cake, a sort of less is more approach. A cleaner sound, more space, a sense that great care has been taken with all aspects of the album, that it has been given time to grow and emerge. Indeed it demands a little time to open up despite its clear hooks and catches.
Everything seems to happen at the right time and place, a quality that displays a confidence and sureness which means the album will last and repay repeated plays. ‘Gentle’ is the word that comes to mind in describing it, but never limp or insubstantial, My Sad Captains have produced the album I rather hoped they would all those years ago – there are all sorts of themes in here, the futility of social media-type communication, the difficulty of saying the right things to the right people, oh all sorts, but all delivered beautifully, enticingly and charmingly. Wonderful stuff indeed, I have missed them, so glad they are back.