steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Hudson Bell

"Captain of the Old Girls" CD


Genres: indie pop, folk-pop, lo-fi

P.O. Box 2738
San Francisco, CA 94126-2738

July 15 - 21 2002

While Hudson's singing may be somewhat abnormal and uncomfortable, and the guitar playing may seem slightly tense and mechanical, there's something very pleasant about Captain of the Old Girls. While originality is what makes the indie scene so appealing, Hudson Bell's brand of innovation may be too different for some ears; at first, the "traditional sounds gone topsy-turvy" style of this seemed foreign even to my senses. And I'm the kind of guy who had no problem with Merzbow upon first listen! But, slowly but surely, I warmed up to Hudson Bell - and Captain proved to be quite a rewarding listen. Hudson's songwriting has a strong Tim Pollard-esque quality to it, except, unlike the GBV frontman's output, his songs rarely go into rockin' mode, and most of them fall into folk territory. And while the songs may not seem to flow correctly right off the bat, after a few listens, songs like "New World" and "Vicious Circle" will be firmly planted in your head.  This sense of gradual appreciation reminded me of Pedro The Lion's It's Hard To Find a Friend debut, which proved to be one of the better indie albums of the nineties, despite its lo-fi leanings.  While Captain may never achieve the acclaim that Friend enjoyed, it will be interesting to see how Hudson will hold up when it comes time to record again.

While it may take more than a few rotations, Captain of the Old Girls will grow on you. And, when you find yourself humming the melody to "Halcyon Days" in the shower, you'll realize that this really is a good lo-fi album. Here's to the next full-length!


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 35 min 37 sec; 10 tracks; distributed by the label and Carrot Top; released 2002]