The Capsules - Northern Lights & Southern Skies (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE Capsules are the latest act to opt for keyboards over their more traditional guitar sound and it creates an apt sound for their subsequent release, Northern Lights & Southern Skies.
Thanks to the swirling electronics and loops, the otherworldly aura that is something of a trademark is even more pronounced.
That said, they haven’t ditched the guitars completely, either, sometimes working them into the electronic sound to equally engaging effect. Hence, on a track like The Heartbreaker, a throbbing bassline combines brilliantly with some well-chosen synth sounds to create a track that broods wonderfully in tandem with Julie Shields’ melancholy vocals.
In contrast, a track like Our Apocalypse almost gets rid of the guitars completely in favour of super-charged synth arrangements that propel the track into some future pop sound. Vocally, it’s reminiscent of acts like Dubstar and Ladytron with a little of Bjork’s edge thrown in.
Album opener Across The Sky is more straight-forward synth-pop with epic lyrics that convey the feeling of flying, compete with Shields’ comforting vocals to ease you along; Test Drive The Other Side benefits from a greater emphasis on beat structures and an ethereal vocal, and Where It All Begins opts for more straight-forward piano (rather than electronic) arrangements to create a cinematic backdrop to the vocals. That song also has some great layered vocals.
If there’s a criticism, it’s that occasionally the album has a samey feel, perhaps because Shields doesn’t always mix up her vocal style enough. And it could also do with one or two more genuinely killer tracks to really stand out.
But in the main, The Capsules have altered their sound and delivered the type of electronic album that offers up a consistently engaging listen.
Download picks: Our Apocalypse, The Heartbreaker, Test Drive The Other Side, Where It All Begins