1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 268

Cultural Divide, by Capstan
Suggested by Todd Beckett

I fit my listens and reviews into my jigsaw schedule as best as my time allows.

One fun fact is that I record the “morning” Randomiser videos at night. It’s gone midnight each time, as that’s how the dating formula works, so technically my morning greeting is factual. I then download the cover art and check streaming availability before toddling off to bed.

I fit the actual listens around my workday, with a writing session in my lunch break, but that can be tough. Sometimes, my day is full of Zoom meetings, or tasks that require silence-fuelled concentration, so shoehorning them into my schedule can be onerous. When I fire up the album, I check the running time. Anything over an hour, or (god forbid) two hours? Bad. Less than forty minutes? Good.

Cultural Divide, by Capstan, runs to nineteen minutes. Wonderful. I might even listen to it twice.

There are five songs, so a live listen / review session, song-by-song, is in order. The progressive post-hardcore emo outfit Capstan present Cultural Divide. Go!

Invisible Fences – Drums are good. Decent speed. Intricate guitar melodies over the top of a punch-your-chest bassline. There’s an almost pop-punk sound to the song structure in places, and the vocalist swings between a McFly / Busted college rock sound to the usual emo screaming. I guess the juxtaposition is interesting. Final note: the song is rather fragmented, with several distinct sections over multiple speeds and styles.

Return to Sender – Nice synths at the start, straight into what I can now assume is trademark intricate drums and throbbing bass. The vocals this time verge far more toward the scream end of the scale, which is sad. The guitars do a fair bit of chugging here. The chorus is catchy, and there’s a bizarre slow section at the end that feels out of place. The song ends rather abruptly.

Wax Poetic – Lovely echoing guitar intro and outro, rendered ridiculous by the overblow emo vocal wailings that accompany it. The song is the band’s take on a ballad, in a When September Ends feel, for the first two minutes at least. Then the drums kick in to raise the gear in an exultant fashion.

Consumed – Fastest track on the EP. Driving drums from the outset. Going very well, before another downshift in gears to a slow section that’s out of place. I think I sense a pattern here. Thankfully, the gears shift up again to a rocking conclusion, albeit one that’s not quite as incendiary as the intro.

The Death of an Illusion – Another sweet-sounding ballad style opening, with restrained and low-scream vocals throughout. The track soon picks up with a stuttering guitar chug, before reaching a mellow groove of triumphant Bill and Ted style guitar work over passionate and motivational drums. My standout song.

Overall? A fine 6/10. I appreciate the band’s rhythmic backbone, but I’m left cold by the emo screaming. That, I feel, is an issue with the genre rather than Capstan in particular. The main flaw is that it sounds like so many other bands of this type. There’s no point in me listening to it again, as I’ll hear two more albums just like it by the end of the week.

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