The Capes
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The Capes


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The best kept secret in music


"NME London - Live Review"

As every passing week sees the US invasion getting hairier, the capital's urchin rock retaliation gets spikier by the second. With The Libertines on half-power and the likes of Razorlight and Neil's Children poised in the wings, tonight sees south London's The Capes emerge from their self-imposed cloak of anonymity to stake their bedraggled claim. They rattle through a set of amphetamine F-11 rock mini-classics with a gusto unimaginable a year ago. Singer Kris Barratt, lurking beneath a golden fringe, sings with the urgency of someone who knows his train is about to leave without him. New single 'Regional Heats' gets tossed away early, but when it's followed by 'I Write The Wrongs', mournful ballad 'In The Morning' ("love's not a serial that runs and runs") and Beach-Boys-gone-bad stomp 'Juvenile', you know The Capes have everything The Thrills saccharine pop lacks: hurt, betrayal and desire. Their crusade starts here. (Paul Moody)


"Drowned In Sound UK - Live Review"

Much more fun are ace Sarff Londoners The Capes, whose Elephant 6 influenced, harmony-drenched rock racket is hugely enjoyable. With singer Kris Barratt coming off like a 'Bandwagonesque'-era Norman Blake and the rest of the band alternating between Grandaddy and Weezer chic, they're somewhat of an enigma. But don't be confused by their appearance, they've got tunes aplenty and no qualms about using 'em.

- Drowned In Sound

"The Sunday Times London - South London Art Bands Feature"

It’s long been the edgiest part of town, and now south London is giving us bands to match — with a vengeance. By Stephen Armstrong

South London has an uneasy place in Britain’s sleazy rock’n’roll history. It usually thrusts forward those who sup from the devil’s cup. The Rolling Stones, punk’s Bromley contingent (alumni: Siouxsie Sioux and Sid Vicious), David Bowie and, um, Billy Idol have all stepped, fully formed and usually snarling, from its 1930s streets. So when, as now, south London starts producing great bands again, wiser heads will cock an ear.

What they will be listening to is quite startling — a broad and eclectic mix of art-rock, punk-funk, ska, blues and thrashy soul, all bubbling up from a scene that has managed to grow over the past five years, hidden from the media spotlight. In 2004, south London means bands like the Koreans, who mix live harmonies as sweet as Lennon and McCartney’s with arch indie disco beats. Or it means their former housemates, the Capes. Or their chum, Mower. Or the ska’n’B of the Ludes, who shared the Koreans’ rehearsal space along with some film- makers. These bands are suddenly bursting out of involuntary exile and preparing to storm the charts.

Of course, it’s all down to the art colleges. In the dark Britpop years, south London was ignored by record companies, who preferred to hang around Camden and Manchester. The Koreans, the Capes, Mower, Art Brut, Bloc Party and others moved into the area because various members were studying at Camberwell and Goldsmiths. When the Koreans decided to rent a Camberwell railway arch from Railtrack to use as cheap rehearsal space, they soon had hordes of hopeful musos turning up. If the bass is mixed low on some of these albums, it is probably a subliminal reference to the 8.15 from London Bridge.

“We ended up living in the arches in 1998,” says the Koreans’ Oliver Hicks. “We had kids from art college making little films, the Capes jamming next door, the sculptor Oliver Shaw working in the corner — it was like Warhol’s Factory, but with lots of Bulgarian red wine, Special Brew and ketamine.”

What these bands lacked was somewhere to perform. Hicks’s bandmate, Brent Newman, recalls a bold attempt to help the scene along three years ago. “I was living on Brixton Hill in 2001,” he says, “and I knew there were so many bands who all hated going up north to play in Camden, so I tried to set up a night in south London. I went round to all these bars with a business plan, but nobody would go for it: they just wanted DJs and dance music.” He laughs. “Now, of course, they’re all doing bands, which is really annoying.”

It took the rock journalist Tim Perry to make a difference. He rented the upstairs room in an unfashionable Brixton pub, the Windmill, every Sunday night and started promoting gigs. Bands such as Franz Ferdinand passed through on their way to the top, but there was also room for local heroes. After scarcely a year, the pub had bands playing every night. Soon, a spin-off scene was developing in the Paradise Bar and the Amersham Arms. All it needed was the record companies to take note and there would be something new to save the music industry.
“Not a single scout came south of the river in the six years we were playing in south London,” Newman says, laughing. “We had a guy from Warner in America hear one of our songs on the website Drowned in Sound and try to buy it for one of his acts. He came over to the UK, but Warner in London warned him not to go south of the river. He spent all his time in north London and Manchester, which is why south London bands hate the Libertines for benefiting from that laziness.”

“The great thing about being from south London is that we weren’t signed four years ago, when everyone was looking for the next Oasis,” Hicks adds. “I dread to think what we would have put out. We’ve got the songs now, the repertoire. A lot of bands get grabbed too quickly and put out stuff too soon. We have had time to gestate.”

As they are art college-inspired, there’s situationist experimentation afoot. The Koreans were recently out in Korea when the band’s name led to them being featured by the nation’s version of Ant and Dec. The gigs evolved into 1960s- style happenings, with local Seoul bands and even a troupe of Korean drummers joining in jams that ran on into the night. With Goldsmiths students trying to set up the Independent Republic of Rocklands in New Cross, it’s only a matter of time before the south rises again.

- The Sunday Times

"'Taste' EP US - Review"

“Straight from the UK with their first official US release, the Capes NAIL it. From the opening strains of the driving "Francophile" with its vintage synths, vocoder vocals, and pounding drums, you can't help but mutter an affirming ‘YES’.”
- Russ Starke,

"'Taste' EP US - Review"

“…the Capes prove themselves to be every bit as good as the other acts ruling the New New Wave scene these days... They do quiet as ably as they do loud, with the ethereal ‘Chromeless’ and the warm, gentle ‘In the Morning.’ Still, to keep pace in the scene, they've got to rock and the EPs two remaining tracks do exactly that with ‘Regional Heats’ and ‘Galaxie Fraulein.’”
- Steven Haag,

"'Taste' EP US - Spin Review"

“More loosey-goosey and pop-oriented than their South London brethren, their mini-album, Taste (Hardsoul), is as adept with a down-and-dirty rave-up as it is with a '70s AM-radio-inspired ballad. "Tightly Wound" updates its twangy hand-clap rock with a happy-go-lucky organ.”

- Brian Raftery,

"'Regional Heats' NME London - Single Review"

Don't be put off by that underachieving title ('Regional Heats'? Why not call the album 'Special Olympics' and be done with it?): London's Capes do a pretty neat impersonation of Brian Wilson going postal in a Toys R Us megastore. It's all Elephant 6 parping, honeyed harmonies, Fisher Price keyboards and noises that sound like slinkys being unravelled. Lavely.

- Pat Long, NME

"'I Write The Wrongs' - UK Independent - Single of the Week"

This commendable debut EP from the Brixton outfit offers up a crafty combination of lo-fi-krautrock, Americana and grungy garage punk. There's some splendid songwriting here, too, in both off-kilter pop "I Write the Wrongs" and the frenzied "First Base".

- The Independent

"'Taste' EP US - CMJ Review"

“It's the songs produced by Lenny Franchi (Björk) that are more heartfelt, more melodious and most worthy of a heads up. The Capes are at their best when they let their natural instincts and art-school roots show… and earn a place at the head of the new class.” - Lisa Donnelly, CMJ New Music Monthly

"'Taste' EP US - Review"

“The Capes throw us through many loops…slinging around updated sounds from the Beach Boys on one track to their take on what the Pixies and the Clash should sound like on another. The musical gamut runs plenty deep here …there doesn't seem to be anything we can do to stop the onslaught of British new wave, and why would you?”

- Eric Bordrero,


"Taste" EP: July 12th Release - Hard Soul Records
"Hello" LP: October 11th Release - Hard Soul Records


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Capes debut album 'Hello' just moved to number 23 in the CMJ Top 200! Is a Top 20 position coming this week?
Things are changing very quickly these days. You could call it a revolution, you can call it an invasion -- call it what you will, The Capes are rapidly catching the public’s ear. We call it a rescue.

With all the stealth and superhero qualities associated with the band’s namesake, the South London quintet burst upon the scene at a time when the UK music industry had turned a deaf ear to the typically bohemian, sleazy art-rock coterie in favor of sounds coming from northern regions like Manchester and Glasgow. Soon thereafter, however, The Capes were causing quite a stir:

“…as South London starts producing great bands again, wiser heads will cock an ear…a broad and eclectic mix of art-rock, punk-funk, ska, blues and thrashy soul, all bubbling up from a scene that has managed to grow the past five years, hidden from the media spotlight. South London means bands like The Capes…Mower…Ludes…Bloc Party. These bands are suddenly bursting out of involuntary exile and preparing to storm the charts.”
--Stephen Armstrong, London Sunday Times

Meeting at the ultra-cool hub of art and music, Goldsmiths College, Kris Barratt (vocals, guitars) and Richie Gladman (keys, guitars, bv’s) got together in the rehearsal rooms with buddy Rupe Cresswell (bass, bv’s), sharing studio space with their school mates Bloc Party and Mower. They started jamming some tracks in what was to become the embryonic stages of the band. After a little while testing out drummers they brought in an old friend Rupe Phelps and started gigging. Realizing they wanted to give things more sonic depth they soon recruited Cresswell’s younger brother Nick (guitars, keys, bvs) and here The Capes were formed.

The Capes’ sound echoes bands as diverse as Blur, The Super Furry Animals, The Olivia Tremor Control, The Beach Boys to Lou Barlow and XTC, meeting somewhere in between, at a huge explosion of buzzsaw guitars, squelchy old analog synths and soaring West Coast harmonies.

“Whilst contemporaries rage at the world in damp rehearsal rooms and candle-lit bedsits, Kris Barratt has conceived a tune-heavy post-millennial survival guide.”
--Paul Moody, NME

A growing buzz led to interest from US indie Hard Soul Records, which delivered the band’s mini-album Taste to the public this summer, and now bring you their full-length album Hello.

The band enjoyed immediate success with the release of their US debut Taste. With the simultaneous street release and radio add of the EP on July 12th, Taste unexpectedly found itself the nation’s 13th most added at college radio. From there, Taste exploded in every direction enjoying 12 weeks in the CMJ Top 200 peaking well inside the Top 75.

Coupled with their tightening grip on college radio, Taste has become a fast favorite of Commercial Specialty Radio, making across the board Top 20 entries in all the Commercial Specialty Charts within a week of its add date, and being played nationwide on alternative radio shows; including regular appearances on Sex Pistol Steve Jones’ “Jonesy’s Jukebox”(Indie 103.1), Nic Harcourt’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic”(KCRW), and Rodney Bingenheimer’s “Rodney on the ROQ” also featured on his daily “Flashforward”(KROQ). Coinciding with their gig at CMJ Music Marathon this September, the band was asked to play a live set for college radio mogul KEXP at the Museum of Television and Radio, which was broadcast nationwide and podcast worldwide.

The Capes’ first long play Hello is slated for release on October 11th, produced by Lenny Franchi (Bjork, The Music, British Sea Power) the album is packed full of the strongest Power Pop this side of the Buzzcocks. Art-rock anthems that flaunt barnstorming guitar riffs paired with Barratt’s spiky vocals switch up with surfer-veiled honey-harmonied tracks that slow to cotton-candied sunsets boys secretly want to love.

Put it on immediately and see what they’re talking about. The Capes have come to reclaim pop music from the major label monstrosity it has become, and their crusade continues with their freshman album Hello.