Review Summary: Punk Album of the Year
“Captain, Were Sinking” is a punk band from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Being a man who grew up only a few towns south of Scranton, I have a few additional reasons to support my love for this album. Without a vague connection to the band, this is still a standout among the dozens of punk albums released in 2013. No punk album released this year captivated my senses more than “The Future is Cancelled”. The lyrics are honest and quite melancholy, the band provides excellent backup to the incredible vocals, and even the artwork does its job in giving the listener a setting to dream about while listening. Combine this with catchy choruses and outstanding guest vocals, and you have one hell of an album. What this album does that other punk bands could only dream about, lies in every memorable song found in its pages.
The album begins with “Adultery”, and it sets the mood perfectly for what is to come. The vocals shake, almost as if Bobby is going through intense amounts of paranoia. The lyrics are downright depressing, as sentences like “My best friend is my dog”, are spewed from Bobby’s mouth. It’s hard not to feel sympathy for the man; the whole song plays out like a train wreck lyrically. The melancholy tones the instruments produce are some of the best ways to entice a listener into the music of Captain Were Sinking, and it plays perfectly. The quick guitar riffs with a psychotic drum beat are just a few positives found on the instrumental layout of the opening track. After a breakdown of harsh screams and an incredible breakdown from the drums, you’re left to wonder if the rest of the album will sink or swim. An opening of this caliber usually results in the pages beyond it to be filled with either magnificent colors, or bleak shades of grey. May I say that there has not been a brighter assortment of colors found in an album this year.
The sympathetic “Brother”, plays right off of the opening and changes the tone immensely. The miserable lyrics still remain, but the drums are upbeat, and the vocals soar above the clouds as Bobby sings, “Things just have to change, My Brother are you ok?”. This is also followed by lyrics about dreaming of sleep, significant amounts of alcohol abuse, and the feeling of being left behind. The lyrics play off perfectly with the other instruments, and Bobby’s voice fits each emotion showered down by the lyrics. Whether his voice is shouting another upbeat chorus, or emotionally singing about the negatives of life, his voice fits each scenario perfectly. Not many punk bands today can change so evidently in what they are trying to convey with their music, which is where this band shines the most. Each lyric composed has a designated meaning which is followed exquisitely by the instruments and the vocals.
The following songs contain more dysfunctional lyrics then most of the album. As you start to sink in the dark void of downbeat drums and depressing vocals, the light known as “Montreal” comes by to remind us that this album is a horse of many colors. This song is prime in showcasing the amount of variety that is found in the album. The catchy duet found in one of the verses in the song provides an intense violet of beauty to the dark song. The lyrics still hit hard, and the drums keep up with Bobby’s fast vocals at all times. The slowest song on the album, “More Tequila, Less Joe” exit contrasts the first two minutes completely, ending with some of the harshest screaming on the whole album preceded by the softest vocals found on the whole album. The song is utterly honest, and it doesn’t get as sincere as this. The lyrics have Bobby confess that he doesn’t know what to say. The poetry behind his explanation is phenomenal, and it leaves the song at a beautiful standstill when the breakdown kicks in.
Without a doubt, “A Bitter Divorce” is one of the best ballads of the year. The song starts off soft, and layers out a thick haze of atmosphere for the listener. Bobby introduces his voice with a depressed feeling. He explains how he gives his all to his loved one, yet she doesn’t like him one bit back. The guest vocals kick in, and your left in awe as the two voices synchronize in harmony. When all hope is drained from Bobby’s voice, the instruments kick in. Bobby shouts his hatred for his ex-partner. Lyrics like “I made a list of everything that I despise, and I wrote your name down several times.” The hate contained in the lyrics is immense, as even the female voice explains that she is “Dead again” with Bobby. Moments of these are simply breathtaking and original, emotion pours out of every word spilled. The writing of such and underground is almost unheard of, and it makes me cringe to realize that this remains a gem underneath the rubble.
As soon as you think this album has to end, it releases another beast of a song to kick your ass and remind you that you’re still on its joy ride. It’s almost impossible to believe that every song on this album has its purpose, but I assure you that there is no other way to explain the classic material presented on this album. No album this year has conveyed such a beautiful message to me through subtle yet dark lyrics. The instruments combine to form melodic excellence, and the vocals are on cue at all points. This is a worthy contender for punk album of the year, and I advise heavily that this is not something that needs to be passed up for any other punk album released this year. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride from start to finish.