By: Phil Johnston

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Released on May 4, 2015 via This Is It Forever

Capac are an electronic based group originally formed in Liverpool but the members now reside in various parts of the country. After a number of years together and a series of EP releases their debut album is now here. Truth is I’ve been missing out as I didn’t know too much about Capac before it was announced Sea Freeze was to be released via This Is It Forever records. The label, run by Tom & Gavin of worriedaboutsatan etc, has become one of my favourite DIY labels and I’ve yet to be disappointed by anything they’ve put out. So my attention was alerted straight away and Sea Freeze definitely doesn’t disappoint.

Partly due to the logistics of writing music when living in different cities, Sea Freeze takes an unconventional approach to song writing. It’s a good thing though and perhaps benefits from members bouncing ideas back and forth via email. The album initially was a bit disorientating for me, but it only took a second listen to get into its massive mutation of sound.

Sea Freeze works best in one sitting, letting it unfold and envelope the senses. There’s a sense of trepidation or lurking catastrophe that comes from both the music and lyrically. Kate Smith’s vocals, although not dominant overall, bring a sense of grounding at times to the constant shapeshifting rhythms. ‘Prophet of the State’ follows the opening ‘Yoona’ and is the album’s first epic. A rhythm like a racing heartbeat fades in and out, it feels almost as if the track is moving away from you. Kate’s vocals here are glorious and restrained, when the bass drops about halfway through everything falls into sharper focus, a totally captivating track. It leads directly into ‘Nine3Nine’ which opens with huge stabs of synth that give way to more errie tones and stuttering rhythms.

It would be easy due to the vocals to make comparisons with the likes of Massive Attack or Portishead. However there’s so much invention and originality throughout the album it would be unfair. This is an album of forward thinking boundary pushing brilliance that deserves more recognition than that.

The album has a glacier like quality, a lot of cold tones and atmosphere but ‘Open/Closed’ brings a warmer feel briefly. Tremelo melodies collide with an irresistible vocal hook to provide another highlight. There are a number of shorter tracks that help to sequence the album and give it that seamless effect. They themselves though are further evidence of the inventiveness and are a large part of the album’s success. ‘Spirit Level’ is another of the album’s epic tracks. Chilling vocals and syncopated beats blend to create an intoxicating atmospheric track that builds throughout. This is soon followed by the title track which is another favourite. Here, a haunting guitar melody and woozy beats combine with Kate’s vocals until it decends into a more oppressive and harsh ending. ‘Lark Lane’ leads on from there with glorious strings and dense layers of atmospherics. It sounds like a film score to a creepy sci-fi film and leaves you wanting more.

Capac have created a debut album to be proud of that should see them gain new fans and delight established ones. ‘Sea Freeze’ is released via This Is It Forever on May 4th.

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