Oh Captain My Captain – Recklessly She Split The Sea

Oh Captain My Captain
Recklessly She Split The Sea

Given the name of the band and their nautically titled debut album, you might expect a collection of sea shanties or at least a creative prog-folk/indie-rock hybrid sound similar to other Pacific Northwest indie bands like The Decemberists or Loch Lomond. You would, of course, be wrong on the sea shanties and only half right on the creative prog-folk/indie-rock hybrid sound.

Instead of navigating through folk-rock, Oh Captain My Captain steer their alt-rock ship with a nod to classic rock while drifting in prog-rock and sailing through indie-rock. A sometimes stormy mix with few hummable melodies and no real pop hooks. But substantive music abounds on Recklessly She Split The Sea, borne out of challenging expressions and executed with skill, cool and melodic passages can be found lurking under the rough exterior.

Aside from the short and slow, jazzy instrumental of the opening track “Opening Credits”, the core quartet of Alex Ellis (bass), Joe Bowden (drums, percussion), Josh Spacek (vocals, guitar) and Jesse Bettis (vocals, guitar, piano) put together robust songs whose jagged rhythms and irregular tempos may take some getting used to. But once the gritty outer layers are assimilated, a complex mix of rough but slick bass lines, choppy pianos and tight electric guitar licks turns into genuinely catchy and clever rock songs.

Smoothing over the frequently shifting riffs, the vocals act as a kind of connective tissue to hold it all together, often sounding like a curious crossbreed of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Muse’s Matthew Bellamy. In addition, the band enlisted friends to add a few sonic textures in the form of strings, bells and vibes. The real appeal though, comes from the way the band manage to pull it all together for a unique blend of rock styles performed with little regard to commercial appeal, without any studio trickery and little post-production augmentation.

Recklessly She Split The Sea is filled with adventurous rock music that any fan of any one of the RIYLs will enjoy. It’s dynamic and experimental, with both open and dense passages, fast and slow guitar solos, loud and soft jams, and equally jaunty and tense melodies. You should go get it now!

Recommended Tracks: “Big Vans And Aeroplanes”, “Don’t Be A Hero”, “All My Good Luck” and “On My Mind”