Take one bass guitar, a drum kit, and a singer who can channel the best of what punk music should sound like, blend well with a healthy dash of electronic wizardry, and you will be listening to a band called No Captains.
Based in San Francisco, No Captains consist of Danny Sando (bass and back vocals), Vince Shore (drums and percussion, he is a doppelganger of my friend from Russia, Anton) and Alex Shonkoff (vocals). I admire bands that can pull off minimalism; Japandroids immediately come to mind when I think of bands that can pull off sounding more extensive than they physically are.
No Captains can get a groove going and ride it through multiple genres. I won’t even hazard a guess as to where they fit in the dictionary of music genres. https://www.musicgenreslist.com. I prefer just listening to the music and taking it for what it is without trying to force it into a box or, in this case, boxes.
Just listening to the music on their newest album, Friends Like These, what did I hear? I heard some funky bass playing. Is this a funk band? No, Danny Sando gets funky on the bass, but No Captains are not a reincarnation of Parliament. I listened to some punk on Friends Like These, but No Captains are not confined to being a punk band. Alex Shonkoff can growl lyrics with the best of the punk movement without being limited to that genre. She also triggered memories of Annie Lennox as I listened to her singing. My ears also feasted on some choice psychedelic morsels, such as the song 13th Moon. No Captains are not the 13th Floor Elevators but they are an excellent example of getting a trippy groove going and working it. There are also elements of indie rock, progressive rock, metal, and probably more, more than enough to give you an idea of what No Captains have going on.
Without getting all analytical and pretentious, I sat down at my hobby workstation and relistened to this album without an agenda while I puttered about my latest project. I liked Friends Like These so much I listened to it yet again. I will probably spin it one more time before this day ends. Is it that good, you may ask yourself. I think it is, and I am a reasonably well-informed listener. This album twists and turns and adds flavour here and there that keeps me coming back for more because I keep hearing new bits and pieces and re-enjoying other parts. This recording deserves to be on end-of-the-year lists, which reminds me, I need to start compiling mine.
I am giving Friends Like These a solid 8.5/10.
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Album order / Bandcamp https://nocaptainssf.bandcamp.com/album/friends-like-these
Previous album ‘The Next One https://soundcloud.com/nocaptains/sets/the-next-one
’13th Moon’ ft. Emily Palen https://soundcloud.com/nocaptains/13th-moon