Album review: Capstan – Separate
For an album packed with such energising riffs, pit-stirring power and glorious pop-tinged hooks, Separate offers a pretty bleak ride. Towards the end of 2019 Capstan released their debut full-length Restless Heart, Keep Running, which marked the Floridians as a vital new force in post-hardcore. There might well have been a brief period when they felt on top of the world, but then guitarist and lyricist Joe Mabry went through a divorce and a global pandemic happened – both of which heavily coloured the songwriting on their eventual follow-up. ‘Is there a hole inside my brain/ Pulling every thought into a negative space/ A gravity I Can’t Escape’ sings frontman Anthony Demario on Blurred Around The Edges, which pretty much sums everything here up.
Musically, things are more effervescent. Opener Pretext and the gnashing Tongue-biter display a familiar mix of choppy, technical, metallic riffs, breakdowns and soaring choruses, striking just the right balance between melody and abrasion. Alone, featuring a guest appearance by Shane Told of Silverstein, is also monstrously heavy and features one of the album’s few uplifting lyrics, dealing with the power of music to pick you up from the deepest and darkest of holes. Elsewhere, though, they flit through a number of different styles, bringing skittering electronica to the pop-tinged Shades Of Us and even a big funk groove to Take My Breath Away//Noose. The aforementioned Blurred Around The Edges features a wailing guest appearance from Saxl Rose and Sway is a fragile acoustic duet with singer-songwriter Charlene Joan.
At its heart, Separate is a heavy album on an introspective journey to its own heart of darkness, but with enough splashes of musical colour to light the way ahead. This is Capstan at full strength and it’s a second outing to be proud of.
Separate is released on July 23 via Fearless.
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