Over the past 3 or 4 years, since I became aware of Alright The Captain, I've increasingly realised that it's almost impossible to describe what they sound like to someone that's never heard them. That hasn't stopped me trying to of course but you end up wildly gesticulating and saying things like "the bass goes 'hnnng, hnnng, hnng.....hnnng' and then the guitars go 'chk, chk, kerchiker, chk, chk' and it's all constantly changing and...and...AWESOME"
All that said, poorly, I am now going to try & convey their sound through the written word. And fail.
Suffice to say if you like math rock with dirty ass bass, guitars that get right up in your grill & beats that only Ian Curtis could get away with dancing to, then ATC are going to tick ALL the boxes for you. Live they are without doubt one of the most thrilling prospects out there, positively fizzing with energy and intent. I'm happy to say that on Conversational Skills For The Socially Anxious they have captured that energy and committed it to tape more adroitly than perhaps they did on their debut album SNIB. Don't get me wrong, SNIB is a great album & well worth you checking out, but, as is often the case with debuts, it only hinted at what this fearsome threesome are like in the flesh.
Conversational Skills was recorded live in the studio, and you can tell. It retains the rawness of the live show but without it sounding lo fi or like it was recorded in a tin bath. All of their trademark sound is here but it appears to have developed from the all-out attack of SNIB in to something more layered and sophisticated with electronic squirrbles more to the fore, especially on closer 'Hurt Burger' which verges in to out & out techno. The rawness and attack is still there, check out 'Key Skills' if you're in any doubt, but fleshed out with a musical maturity that can only be gained by time spent working hard and hitting the road for show after show, like these boys do year after year; 'Lynn Companion' is the best showcase of this, adding a melodic subtly to the rhythmic hammer blows.
Long-time readers of the site will know we've been champions of these boys for a long time now, so it is with no little pride and great satisfaction to see that they have added such an outstanding work to their recorded cannon.