The Capitol Years – Let Them Drink

The Capitol Years
Let Them Drink

Philadelphia is a pretty badass little town. Not only does it have the legacy of producing some of the best soul records ever made (back in the 70s), it’s got the Liberty Bell, good seafood, the New Jersey Turnpike, Dr. J played there, and it was also home of one the most underappreciated pop/rock bands of the 1960s: The Nazz. Well, on the upcoming release, Let Them Drink, Philadelphia’s The Capitol Years channel the spirit of The Nazz and produce a power-pop record with enough power chords, seductive guitar hooks, and British Invasion-styled harmonies to make Todd Rundgren himself proud.

Like any good power-pop album, Let Them Drink is completely derivative of all the great pop bands of days gone by, but it also displays The Capitol Years’ own personal identity and impeccable taste throughout the record. The band skirts through all the classic British Invasion influences, such as The Beatles (“Giant Steps,” “Ramona”), The Who (“Solid Gold”), The Kinks (“Mounds of Money”), and The Hollies (“Juicer”), while adding elements of Byrds’ style jangle into the mix (“Solid Gold,” “Stones”). However, the two most interesting features of Let Them Drink include The Capitol Years’ gentler, slightly psychedelic songs (“Going Down,” “Let Them Drink,” and “Dirty Bitch”), and their flawless country-rock track (“Stones”).

Each of the three psychedelic/folk inspired tracks contain similarities to many of the darker moments from Big Star and Badfinger (the two kings of power-pop), as well as the twisted folk music of Moby Grape. Much like Moby Grape’s Skip Spence, The Capitol Years’ mastermind Shai Halperin has a gift for singing melancholy lyrics in a dark and detached tone, which, along with the eerie acoustic strumming, creates an evocative psychedelic buzz. Meanwhile, “Stones,” a classic-era country-rock-inspired number, beautifully hearkens back to the kind of ground-breaking roots-oriented songs The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Rolling Stones recorded during the late 60s.

The Capitol Years’ Let Them Drink breathes needed life into the often ignored and sometimes reviled genre of power-pop by adding eclectic taste and style to the standard 60s-style pop/rock rave-up. The result is a record that could easily be mistaken by record geeks as a 60s underground lost-classic… like maybe Quicksilver Messenger Service’s first album.