Review Summary: Prepare for disappointment
Captain, We’re Sinking was never going to be able to adequately follow up The Future is Cancelled.
It was never in the cards for a band that had put 100% of their everything into a record as momentous as TFiC to scrap together a follow up that would be even in the same ballpark quality-wise. And “The King of No Man” is most certainly not in the same ballpark. To say it’s in the parking lot of the ballpark would be generous. The previously unknown four-piece from Scranton, PA shocked the punk world in 2013 when they dropped The Future is Cancelled
, with its technically impressive but never wanky guitar work, and hauntingly heavy lyrics dealing with alcoholism, Catholic guilt, death, and depression being quickly declared as a modern punk masterpiece because of its ability to somehow be equal parts fun and depressing. The King of No Man
on paper has a similar effect, but it operates at a substantially lower quality. The heaviness found in a song like “Lake” is here in the form of “Don’t Show Bill,” but “Don’t Show Bill” has an annoying nails-on-a-chalkboard feel to it, it sounds like a band trying really hard to be heavy, and it's over before it really has a chance to go anywhere. The interwoven dual guitar work Captain, We’re Sinking is known for shows up on “Trying Year,” but the repetitive “really really really hard year” lyrics knock the song down a couple of pegs. The saving grace of the record is the last five tracks, which are all fantastic. “Crow,” “Hunting Trip,” and “King of No Man” are full band arrangements from co-frontman Bobby Barnett’s solo album, and their folksy flavor translates really well into Captain, We’re Sinking’s sound. “The Dance of Joy’s” optimistic lyrics are a nice change of pace, and “Water” is catchy as ***, and has Leo Vergnetti’s best vocal performance to date. The King of No Man
is a fairly typical sophomore slump - it’s not as creative, it’s not as passionate, but Captain, We’re Sinking is talented enough that it ends up being well above average, just inversely well below the band’s average. If the first six tracks came even close to matching the quality of the last five this would be a worthy follow-up to The Future is Cancelled,
but as it stands, The King of No Man
is nothing short of disappointingly passable.