Captain Fathom

Dischordpatheos

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

Captain Fathom's first effort is comprised of long, effervescent songs, the eight tracks adding up to 71 minutes. These don't quite drift into ethereal formlessness, but nevertheless have a go-with-the-flow vibe that switches from vocal to instrumental sections, and different rhythms and arrangements, like shifting tides. The lyrics, similarly, have a slightly spacy, nonchalantly ebullient air, like that of a swimmer bobbing up and down near the shore with no particular destination in mind. In their use of multiple liquid guitar lines and funky, bouncy rhythms and riffs, the four-piece recall the Grateful Dead. That's hardly a brilliant comparison, of course, considering that the Dead are the granddaddy of all jam bands, but that similarity is there. They manage to avoid purposeless or indulgent noodling, though, with a solid grasp of contrasting dynamics. There are alternating loud and soft passages, and some imaginative touches of world-beat-flavored horns, jazzy flute, drifting found-sound spoken voices, psychedelic guitar phasing, and riff-driven guitar raveups. The part where the guitar parts glide into lower keys as if the turntable's slowing down is a nice touch. This is more intelligent and good-humored than much of what flew under the jam band label in the late 1990s; fans of Phish and the like looking for something more offbeat would do well to check it out.