Album Review: Captain Frederickson – The Yips

Captain Frederickson are a transatlantic experimental rock group from Reading, England and Buffalo, USA who had piqued my interest with their album The Yips. Here’s my track by track review.

By Graeme Smith

The Yips is the kind of album that doesn’t stand on ceremony in order to ease you into it. It slaps you across the face from the outset with its heavy, hypnotic first track The Yips Intro. Its march ends as suddenly as it starts and, with barely enough time to take a breath, in comes Exciting Opportunity. A tribute to dodgy capitalism and pyramid schemes, the vocals are delivered in a spoken word style, taking on the persona of a sleazy salesman. The guitar riffs stay severe, mixing industrial and punk influences.

After that breathless one-two punch, the album goes for the upper cut with Proper Sausages. Though based on both sides of the Atlantic, there is something distinctly British about Captain Frederickson’s lyrical delivery. Absurdity mixes with classism in Proper Sausages, delivered against a backdrop of metallic guitar and a beat that feels almost dance-y.

In true punk tradition, all eleven of the album’s track’s are barely two minutes long. They’re short, sharp vignettes, taking on a small aspect of modern life and putting it under a nihilistic microscope in order to deliver a wider message. That message speaks of a society that’s broken, and it’s track four It’s The Hope That Kills perhaps puts the finest point on it.

Things are slowed down tempo-wise for Snap The Putter. Distorted bass and whispered vocals provide the backdrop of its story of sporting failure. It’s followed by throwback track Beadle’s About, a truly chaotic and slightly creepy reference to ’90s British TV star Jeremy Beadle.

Without a wasted bar, we reach track seven Chicken Party. I would call it the band at their poppiest if it weren’t for the absurdness of the track’s lyrics. Electronic elements mix well with rock elements to great effect and it does act as something of a palate cleanser after all the heavy, industrial-ness. It’s an album highlight.

My Superhero Is You is a one-minute moment of romanticism told against a backdrop of a list of Marvel movies. It’s followed by Quite Likeable, a pleasant, percussive piece of punk poetry. Then it’s the album’s last track proper From Didcot To Caversham. It’s at once a piece of classic punk and a tribute to the path less travelled. There’s just enough time left for an outro that acts as a counter point to the album’s intro.

The Yips is a breathless, reckless collection of irreverent punk. It won’t be for everyone, sure, but I think that’s its charm, and it delivers its social commentary with humour, intelligence and humility. It’s a must listen for fans of punk. You can check out the whole album below.