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MUSIC REVIEW: Captain Of The Lost Waves' Hidden Gems

Yorkshire, England's Captain of the Lost Waves offers up a truly sparkling collection on their new release Hidden Gems. The ensemble bills themselves in the "Nu Vaudeville" genre, but they prove themselves something far greater than that across the 9 songs on this album.

These tracks strike a seemingly impossible balance. Somehow, they manage to mix Lumineers-style folk-pop charm with seedy Tom Waits grit with sweeping melodies reminiscent of Tin Pan Alley.

A standout track is "Another Planet," which serves as an apt representative of the album as a whole. The title is appropriate. The track, like the rest of the album, does indeed create a new world of its own. This is accomplished in part by instrumental arrangement and performance.

These songs have a dense instrumental texture built on the likes ukulele and bouzouki glued together with pumped reeds like harmonium and accordion. It's a perfect foundation for melodica-like leads and for the Captain's expansive vocals. His lyrics are the language of these little worlds. They're impassioned tales of people, places and times with no need for (and no interest in) trend or cliché.

The world created on this album is an older world and less self-conscious than our own. It's a world that's happy to welcome you in or happy to watch you walk right by. Hidden Gems is the collected work of a songwriter who has pulled together elements of pace, form, performance, and style and melded them into a singular voice. It is a synthesis of ideas that will keep the listener searching again and again for the next shiny rock under their imaginary hob-nail boot.

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