Capital Inicial

Das Kapital

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For a record drawing its name from Karl Marx's top work, Das Kapital sure is streamlined and mainstream, with little to pass for alternative music or induce rebellion against the world's injustice. However, taken for what it is -- a commercial rock album -- it works just fine. The sound is pretty hard to dismantle, with pop-punkish tempos, everyman vocals, and simple riffs drawing from post-grunge here, Bryan Adams-era rock there, and middle-of-the-road alt-rock in most other places. Capital Inicial's post-punk past still shows in the fact that the band prefers playing fast, sounding down to earth, and going for the jugular to dishing out larger-than-life pomp that's another sure-fire way to score a spot on the airwaves, but the sound is uniformly melodic throughout -- as if Smashing Pumpkins decided to dress up as Hüsker Dü for a Halloween party, or maybe pop-emo without angst (if there would be anything left). Capital Inicial even throw in a couple of semi-ballads that uncover the hidden debt they owe to the '80s, but while those sound dangerously close to Enrique Iglesias, they also pack enough genuine energy to roar, not wallow, during the buildups. On the whole, the sound -- while never retro -- still comes across as subtly dated: the band may be working with modern rock styles, but Capital Inicial pile them up and blend them together without adding anything new to the mix. This type of derivative music can only be justified by good hooks, and Das Kapital is loaded with those, just the way a good punk-tinged power pop record should be -- although little lingers in the memory once the album finishes playing.

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