Captain T - "Sinister Ambassador" (Artificial Records 2000, 1003)
Hollywood Superstars - "Girls + Boys Demo" (Sheldon Enterprises 2001, CD)
From Aural Innovations #17 (September 2001)
Captain T returns with what I think is their first full length CD. The bulk of my impressions from my first Captain T reviews in AI #12 still apply, though I hear more that appealed to me on Sinister Ambassador. The CD opens with "Joyloader", a short surf-metal song with a trippy edge. "Interplanetary Disgrace" returns from the band's 3-track demo from 1999, and on the new CD it's been extended by about 4 minutes. This is an uneven tune that alternates between damn good spacey psych-metal and MTV hair-band heavy rock. I didn't have a chance to compare this with the demo version but to the band's credit the tripped out jams do seem to dominate the track. I think it's mostly the Motely Crue/Quiet Riot styled vocals that give it that hair-band sound that puts me off. Let me edit this down to about 10 minutes and you'll have a kick ass heavy space rock tune.
Four of the CD's 8 tracks are stylistically similar, being solid rockers with a Stoner feel, though ultimately they did little to excite me. But "Girls, Inc" and "Heaven Jam" were very different tracks that I liked. "Girls, Inc" is a funky instrumental with jamming wah'd guitar. Very reminiscent of 70's jamming psych rock with doses of fusion. It really stretches out and develops nicely over its 10 minute length. "Heaven Jam" is an aptly titled, easy paced instrumental that combines heavy drones with tasteful guitar work that makes the song feel like a anthem. Very nice and a fitting track to close the album. Overall I'd say Sinister Ambassador is a schizophrenic album that reveals a band unsure of their direction, and this was the case when I first reviewed Captain T. I say if these guys would ditch the singer and go instrumental they'd be a really killer band.
Hollywood Superstars is a teamup between Captain T (or some members) and an angry growling singer named Shermy Sheldon, the story being that he was in some failed TV sitcom years ago. This 25 minute demo includes heavy rocking songs, some of which are pretty good, with Shermy's anguished vocals that seem obsessed with his show business experience and his late vaudevillian grandfather Shemp Sheldon. But at the end he seems to give away that this is just a guise of some sort. Who knows. Some good moments but for the most part it didn't really grab me.
For more information you can visit the Captain T web site at: http://www.captaint.com.
Visit the Hollywood Superstars at: http://www.hollywood-superstars.com.
Contact Captain T via snail mail c/o Artificial Records; 5925 NE 80 Ave; Portland, OR 97218.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz