Captain Sensible


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Sensible calls this his White Album in the liner notes, but next to the Captain, the Beatles were haiku poets in their moderation. It's a sprawling mess of a record, spread over two CDs and two-and-a-half hours. This may be pure conjecture, but Sensible also seems to be taking a Zappa-like approach to his work with his combination of so many elements: bouncy London pop, Pink Floydish spacy electronics, found sound bites from TV shows, grating bulldozer guitar riffs, dainty orchestral violins, and silly lyrics about space travel. Often he seems to want to shock or jolt the listener out of complacency with repeated monster guitar licks or spoken dialogue; if the goal is to irritate, he succeeds all too well (as in the bit where a woman sneezes over -- and over -- and over). The listener ends up being not so much dazzled as exhausted, or worse, fed up with his apparent value of cocky experimentation over cogent, humane statements. Here's a little secret: if you just want the kernel of Sensible's melodious pop sensibility and none of the extraneous nonsense, head straight to the excellent, sophisticated, and witty records of one of his occasional songwriting partners, Martin Newell.

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