Album Reviews

Capybara: Try Brother [Album Review]


Like any genre, folk has artists that are true to the origins of its particular style of music. And, like any genre, it has artists that push the boundaries. Capybara is of the latter classification. Try Brother sees the group expanding into new arenas, mashing pop and freak-folk, and sure, let’s throw in a splash of psychedelic as well. That being said, Capybara’s relation to folk is one that can be listed as partial – it is and it isn’t. It is the root, but there’s much more behind Try Brother to limit it to merely folk.

“Hello City Glow”, for example, is barely folk; the sensibilities of the genre have practically disappeared, though they were quite present in preceding tracks “San Francisco, 1906” and “The Wimp”. Albeit, when the genre’s traits do appear, they’re a version as distorted as the offspring of a Chernobyl victim. But not as helpless – as if the offspring was, say, the next block in human evolution. The same can be said for “Cutaway Kid”. Yeah, this isn’t your cut-and-shoot traditional folk album by any means. And that’s the first telling that limiting the classification to folk really doesn’t cut it.

Along with the aforementioned genres, there are light traces of free jazz in songs like “Soft” and “Happiness / Let Child Roam” and chamber pop flirts with several songs, but above all there’s the avant-garde that labels all these tracks with the favorable ‘freak’ title. Were that a standalone genre it would work, but even paired with the inevitable ‘folk’ there’s still something not quite right. The influences are too wide and too plentiful.

As the instrumentation grows to include trumpets and banjos, and as the band expands into falsetto-meets-baritone vocal harmonies, and as synth lines weave intricate melodies completely unique in the realm of folk, Try Brother becomes something else entirely – a conceptual album of experimental music with folk leanings that is truly par none.

Capybara: Soft [mp3]

Capybara: The Wimp [mp3]
[audio:091103-capybara-the_wimp.mp3|titles=The Wimp|artists=Capybara]


The Record Machine [CD, 2009]

1. San Francisco, 1906
2. The Wimp
3. Hello City Glow
4. Cutaway Kid
5. Soft
6. Happiness / Let Child Roam
7. Magpies
8. Dynamite Dare
9. Birthday Song For Bridgegirl
10. Waves In The Wire

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