From an old record box: Brave Captain – Better Living Through Reckless Experimentation EP

On settling down to review this EP I was expecting it to at least be interesting, not least given that I couldn’t really remember anything positive about it. When I bought catalogue number WEBB009S I only played it once, thinking it was complete crap.

I’m sure ex-Boo Radley songwriter Martin Carr thought that he had a great first song title when he dreamt it up. Maybe he even gave out a little chuckle. Those sort of clever little witticisms never survive much repetition. And there’s nothing much else remarkable about this lead-off track.

‘Better Living Through Reckless Experimentation’ is a fuzzed-up, muddy rocker, admittedly with some wah-wah and “ooh la la las” for inflection, but it failed to get me going. It sounds like the kind of indistinct but not altogether unpleasant noise you might hear over the PA before a gig starts.

The best number is the pretty, bittersweet ‘Me And You Glue. There’s something of the lush guitar strum and percussion of Tim Buckley’s ‘Love From Room 109 at The Islander (On Pacific Coast Highway’ and ‘Buzzin’ Fly’). This gentle, swaying backing proves to be the best compliment to Carr’s quiet voice and softly sad lyrics: “everything’s crashing/and no-one’s laughing/I wish I had the glue/to put us back together”.  Thing is, try as I might, I can’t quite get with the jarring brass section that he slaps on top of what would otherwise be a delightful track.

Some people are just better off in a group. It might be hard having to collaborate if you feel you’re pulling the greater weight but without them there’s no filter and no reinforcement. This record could have done with both. Admittedly that might have meant it being filtered out of existence, but it might also have been knocked into a different, and better, shape.


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