The Capitol Years have always essentially been frontman Shai Halperin's solo project. His lo-fi, pop underground nuggets have been lauded by home recording aficionados and critics alike, resulting in a string of hastily assembled releases that -- while undeniably delicious -- have never really worked as a whole. From the very beginning, Let Them Drink lays that notion to waste, relying on a cohesive blend of intelligent '60s rock and power pop that sounds like an extension of New Pornographer A.C. Newman's Slow Wonder as played by Cheap Trick. The band is tight -- the Capitol Years did open for the reunited Pixies -- and the songs are just ramshackle enough to demand the extra attention that they need to sink in. "Juicers," with its infectious and pulsating chorus, is the perfect opener; it's catchy enough to get its barbs in and opaque enough to keep the listener looking around the corner for the next hook. "Solid Gold" is like a Sloan sandwich with Neil Young in the middle, "Lucky" is all White Stripes without the attitude, and the glorious title cut is the best track that Minus 5 never recorded. It may be impossible to fully extract the Capitol Years themselves from the genre in which they'll inevitably be placed in -- garage rock revival -- but as far as smart, hook-filled songcraft goes, Let Them Drink is up there with the best that the scene has to offer.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger