Get Cape Wear Cape Fly!

Get Cape Wear Cape Fly! Chinnerys, Southend

“What’s a battle cry / If it falls on death ears”

A telling lyric from Westcliff’s Get Cape Wear Cape Fly. Especially, 12 years into his career with new material aplenty. Launching your career with a cult classic (‘Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager’) can often have a damming effect. Just ask The Enemy and Glasvegas. Despite this, head honcho Sam Duckworth returned this year with ‘Young Adult’ and, this past Saturday, he brought it to his hometown venue Chinnerys.

Now backed with an 8 piece band (all outrageously handsome btw!), Get Cape sounds better than ever. This is particularly true of new material such as ‘Adults’, ‘Animate’ and ‘VHS Forever’. The youthful exuberance that bred so much hope and escapism in 2006 is still there, but now, the musicianship is on another level. These feel like staple set numbers of a decade!

This is further striking on ‘DNA’ and fan favourite ‘Lighthouse Keeper’. The latter, a great song about life in Southend, always breeds huge devotion from the Essex crowd. However, ‘DNA’, surpasses it with its older, wiser and reflective stance. Get Cape’s vocal is oozes into shore like the waves just a few hundred yards away with an elegant ease to marvel at.

Quite simply, this is the best version of Get Cape that’s ever materialised, go and watch for yourselves!

Get Cape Wear Cape Fly - Young Adult

Four years ago, Get Cape bid an emotional farewell to the moniker at the Forum. It was a celebration of all that was great about teenage escapism. The intervening years saw three albums released, two under his own name Sam Duckworth, and the other, ‘Baby Boomers 2’, a classic released under the name Recreations.

So, why the return? Why now? In short, Duckworth left London and returned to his native Southend. Sonically and lyrically, this album feels like Duckworth has come full circle from his debut ‘The Chronicles of Bohemian Teenager’ but, with sterner sense of wisdom only your thirties can bring.

Album opener ‘Adults’, closes with the spritely guitars and euphoric brass of the debut but lyrically, it’s a far more complex. Duckworth, wiser, can see through the political discourse around him but, like so many, is alienated by it all simultaneously. Amidst the confusion though, hope remains which is the true essence of Get Cape right?

The return to Essex takes a stark turn on ‘Man2Man’. A county where Thatcherism still reigns, this song details the cynicism and hypocrisy of the viewpoint. So often, social comment comes in the form of punk rock polemic. Here though, it’s within great melody, angelic backing vocals and a soaring urgency.

The Get Cape journey home isn’t always so clear-cut. ‘Always’ treads murkier paths of personal cataclysm. Meanwhile, ‘Scrapbook’ questions whether the teenage dreams have faded or the lack of freedom as an adulthood has taken its toll. Even in the darker moments, there is a sense of solidarity which breeds light and courage to up off the canvas.

‘Adults’ is not free flowing rock n roll music so, phrases like return of the King are unlikely to come Duckworth’s way. It is hard to view it in any other way. It’s a clarion call to all who have been forced out of city centres the world over that great art can come from anywhere.

It also highlights a remarkable clarity in song writing. There isn’t a track here which, if you took away the vocals, wouldn’t leave you thinking its anything other than a Get Cape song. The acoustic guitars, warming brass and intricate electronic production have and continue to serve him well. Make no mistakes though, this is no nostalgia trip.

Recreations - Baby Boomers 2

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since Sam Duckworth’s debut album via the Get Cape Wear Cape Fly moniker was released. Duckworth now goes by the name Recreations and recently released ‘Baby Boomers 2’.

Duckworth has always been a consistent and prolific song writer but, for our money ‘The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager’ and ‘The Mannequin’ are classics. So, can ‘Baby Boomers 2’ get in amongst them? Yes, yes it can. It combines the youthful euphoria of the debut with the intelligence and melancholy of ‘Mannequin’ to set him on another great adventure.

The album opens with ‘Zones 9 & 10’ and, quite frankly, could end here too because, in the words of Triple H:

“I’m that damn good”

The effortless flow of the acoustic guitar and sun drenched production meanders away like the Thames estuary from “Wapping to Barking to Thurrock towards the sea” that he mentions. The main highlight of this song, especially for a fellow lost soul in Essex, comes from the hope he offers. Duckworth is not content to grow up to be a commuter into London and rejects the financial district as it is today (an industry which employs a large proportion of the county).

Duckworth has painted the picture of an Essex where hope for change seems (and is) bleak but his genuine plea to look at your immediate surroundings in a different light to the status quo is remarkable. It offers achievable change for anyone wanting to make an imprint on the world.

‘Red Spex’ immediately follows this and paves the way to the pop music via electronic production which dominates most of the album. It’s a spritely track, littered with relevant social comment, aka, classic Duckworth. ‘Outdoor Type’ serves up a Block Party style Balearic synth alongside his trademark EMO-lite vocals to create an unique and incredibly engaging new style.

The house music styles continue to filter through on ‘Pipe Down’. The slow build of beats, acoustic riffs and bubblegum pop synths will conjure memories of Lemonjelly circa ‘Lost Horizons’. Behind the sonic bliss however, lurks a tragic tale.  As our protagonist earnestly pleads “Don’t you know you could have it all / all you ever dreamed off / all you have to do is keep it down / keep it down down down”, the images of gut wrenching and life changing break up become inevitable.

The way in which Duckworth changes gears on ‘Baby Boomers 2’ is ultimately its biggest success. For fans of alternative pop music, this album is perfect. It moves from downbeat electronic folk to Calvin Harris pop cutting lyrics and thus, is always intriguing. The track ‘Forgiveness’ is brilliant prototype for a single. It’s emotive, great strings, and lyrically, it will speak to people of all ages reflecting on life. For a man of Duckworth’s talents, it would be easy to put out an album of these tracks and become a superstar. Less is more though, and when you reach this track you are left stunned and then you move on to the next, and crucially, different piece of art.

The only way to conclude this review is to quote the rousing moments of ‘Zones 9 & 10’:

“All these years of stress have taught me this / That hope begins at home / I just wish that glint in your eye was there all the time” 

https://www.facebook.com/recreations2k/videos/10153576390806434/

 

Recreations – Digital Ghettos

Recreations are the new sobriquet for Sam Duckworth (aka Get Cape Wear Cape Fly!). His nationwide tour with the excellent Rob Lynch and Sean McGowan begins on 22nd April so, we thought we'd check out his latest EP 'Digital Ghettos'.

Built To Last

This Bridges the gap between the melodic and inspirational Get Cape material and the melancholic introspective solo albums perfectly.

From the outside it seems outrageous to claim “im not built to last” as he is about to release his 8th album in ten years. An 8th release which, based on this showing, is set to maintain an incredible level of consistency.

We sometimes wonder whether he should release an album of tripe so his next album can be seen as a heroic return to form because glory is

Icicle

The DnB and jungle influences, so often his USP, serve this track well as ‘Icicle’ ebbs and flows from spiky to euphoric. This tale of trying to be cool in an impossibly cool world inside the M25 has a wryness that should be thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Shake It Off

The shackles are off on this track. This is the most unabashed track Duckworth has written for years. The Get Cape moniker may be no more but the hordes of fans who flocked to his debut ‘The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager’ should be ready for another joyous journey.

This is everything alternative pop music should be. It’s spritely, catchy and bears witness to heavyweight social commentary:

“So throw out your rage / it’s the 70s again / a disgruntled youth / Who will not go away / But they don’t like bands / Because everyone is sleeping with their favourite brands”

This writer and Duckworth maybe the only two in the world that see things this way but the alternative music world of yesteryear with tears in eyes at the levels of corporate attachment today. Yes record sales are down because people steal but principles and symbolism are everything in this world right? Purists may be losing in this world but making a great album, juxtaposing art with commercially viable single and entertaining crowds is art and should not be cheapened.

Polemic aside, this is a great pop song. The soaring chorus is destined to be echoed around far bigger audiences than the upcoming tour is set to play to. Simply put, it is too good not to.

Digital Ghetto

To round things off is a simple and warming ballad about the isolation that technology can bring about. Technology is supposed to bring us together, and in a way it does. However, what Duckworth brilliantly gets to here, is that sense that we know more about our friends than ever before but arguably know them less.

The torture in Duckworth’s vocals as he sings “oh I don’t want to be another one” is gut wrenching. He is detailing how he doesn’t want to drift apart from friends and the world in general but, his lyrics and melancholic music signify it is inevitable:

 “If knowledge is power / why do I feel so powerless”

It’s a horrible sense of hopelessness and remoteness he gets across and he should be applauded for it. No matter how happy you are, this song will stop you in your tracks and reflect for four and half minutes.