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Brave Captain
NOTHING LIVES LONG, HE SANG, ONLY THE EARTH AND THE MOUNTAINS
(THIRSTY EAR)

As the singer/guitarist and leader of England’s Boo Radleys, Martin Carr specialized in My Bloody Valentine–inflected guitar squalls and songs that tended to be more precious and cerebral than ferocious. And though Brave Captain, Carr’s new alter ego, borrows the name from a track off Ragin’ Full On (SST), the 1987 debut album by Mike Watt’s burly, punk-rockin’ fIREHOSE, Carr more or less continues in the Boo Radleys vein here. The arrangements are a bit more orchestral than he’s preferred in the past: horn and string arrangements embellish the disc’s largely guitar-centered pop songcraft in a manner that brings to mind the productions of Brian Wilson and Phil Spector. On " The Tragic Story, " Carr seems to be aiming for the twisted pop soundscapes of the Flaming Lips, but his lyrics keep the song anchored in working-class England. He nails it, though, with " Where Is My Head, " a kaleidoscopic snapshot of existential crisis.

BY MARK WOODLIEF

Issue Date: May 10 - 16, 2001