This is a review of "Revolution Thoughts EP" recorded by Capital State. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2003.
You have to respect Capital State. They just keep coming back at you. Ever since I saw them at Leeds Festival back in 2001, I've been intrigued. They demand, and seem to get, fierce loyalty and audience enthusiasm. They have a heavy heavy rhythm section, dancing keyboards and slightly patchy vocals that suggest funk, hint at club land, borrow from rock and end up as a unique mixture that you can either get right inside or scratch your head in disbelief at. It's a whole other world they create for themselves and their fans.
"Hard Ones" at track one has anthemic chiming guitar chords and big keyboard fills that sets out the manifesto for permanent partying against the system. "It's clear in my mind that this is our time, nothing's gonna stop us now" they howl. A rap incantation, funk guitar and rock bass is echoed left channel with some clever swap over lines. The Big Chorus comes back several times and it ends in a frenzy.
Track two is "Revolution Thoughts" with opening synth strings and light funk guitar, then: "That's right people, you got the revolution you asked for! Hold tight!"; a couple of tempo changes a key change; and then a toasting party feel. There's lots of "Here we go!" and even a bit of Bhangra-sounding vocal. The tempo changes keep on coming and a crescendo keeps threatening to bubble up into some kind of lava flow. Busy busy busy. But no killer punch.
"Give It All" at track three has electro pulsation and a pretend US radio voice over some jazzy guitar and pitch bending keyboard riffs. Drumming is as slick as you like. And the radio voice keeps coming back in with big enthusiasm for the Capital State Mission, which gradually mutates in a song about "I'll never grow tired of trying to break your heart of stone". For a minute at the end there are some Treasure Island noises with breakers, gulls and Blind Pugh breaking out of a coffin to applause and strange old American lady shouting "Turn it up! Turn it up!" Odd.
We've reviewed Capital State a few times now and the line seems to have been, "There's more to come". On the cold surface of a CD it's looking increasingly like they've got to up their game to make the breakthrough from enjoyable live band to recording success that they deserve. For my money it would be better-defined songs, or a very powerful up-front front man. Preferably both. At present it's huge enthusiasm, party beats and a wayward sense of direction. At some point the frantic mix of styles has to coalesce into something singular.