Album: CAZ MECHANIC – The Secret Life Of The Wife Of the Captain Of The Ship In A Bottle On The Mantle Piece (Big Potato BPR005 2008)

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Great Art Deco cover – ludicrous title. Caz Mechanic is Caroline Banks, formerly drummer with Seafood, aided by Neil Halstead among others, and The Secret Life Of The Wife Of the Captain Of The Ship In A Bottle On The Mantle Piece is her debut album.

It’s a decidedly mixed bag. “Cold Black Eyes”, for example, is a very Mojave 3-ish piece of country-tinged, chamber pop. It follows a kazoo skiffle shuffle (the title tune) and precedes “Go Home”, a Susanna style quiet jazz tune. There are 16 songs in all which makes the album seem longer than its 45 minutes. Its eclecticism is both its strength and its weakness. It’s varied enough to avoid sounding like just another pastoral indie LP, but also sounds like a bit of a grab-bag, with a lot of the tunes sounding decidedly unfinished. Nothing wrong with the lo-fi approach, of course – in fact it’s far preferable to the corporate polish that’s all too prevalent on most contemporary singer-songwriter efforts. But songs like “Little Star” are simply too flimsy.

Banks’ voice is best suited to the more introspective numbers. It’s a bit too weedy to rock out convincingly, but works well in a more intimate setting. “If I See A Bear” sees her in a reflective Mary Margaret O’Hara mode and is effective. “Can’t Help Yourself” is plain weird, but a stand out track. Ultimately, the album has too many half-developed ideas to succeed fully, but there is some good stuff, and it has a lot of charm. For fans of Tara Jane O’Neil, early Cat Power and the quieter side of Scout Niblett (another singing drummer) perhaps.

Tracks
01. Elephant’s Song
02. Smell Of Last Night
03. Secret Life Of The Wife Of The Captain Of The Ship
04. Cold Black Eyes
05. Go Home
06. Buried Under Sea
07. Little Star
08. Can’t Help Yourself
09. 5 Knights
10. Fridge Full Of Beer
11. If I See A Bear
12. Mayday Mayday
13. Too Much Thinking
14. Wrong Way Rolls
15. Crocodile
16. Beat In Here

Website
http://www.cazmechanic.com/

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One response to “Album: CAZ MECHANIC – The Secret Life Of The Wife Of the Captain Of The Ship In A Bottle On The Mantle Piece (Big Potato BPR005 2008)

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