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CD Review: Captain Starr (self-titled)
By Francesco Emmanuel - 02/21/2007 - 05:02 PM EST

Artist: Captain Starr (self
Album: titled)
CD Review: Funky and Groovy - that’s two words to describe this record. Here are two other words – tight and slick! Its starts of with a strong melody line, elevated by accompanying harmonies, and before you know it, one heck of a groove is going on.

‘Drifting away’ the opening number has smooth transitions from verse to chorus, right into the bridge, with sparse guitar notes layered along the way.

Captain Starr is the work of Jonny Strides on vocals & guitar, Dario Casullo on drums, with Mohit Muthanna on lead guitar and Andrew Mason on bass.

Jonny’s voice is gutsy, filled with soul and grit; it certainly has its own distinctive character. Thankfully, his voice doesn’t sound like the post-punk ska kids of today. It really makes a positive difference to this record.

This six song EP is the group’s debut release and it’s fair to say, that these guys have got the funk going on. Here’s why - there are hooks at every corner, on every song on this album. No use of samples here, it is a well recorded, mixed and mastered album, full of catchy melodies and solid songs. I really liked how the guitar, bass and drums grooved so well together throughout the record. It is a clear-cut, simple, straight up funk based album with a hint of rock ‘n roll and blues.

‘Unable’ starts off rather soft and subtle, it has a melancholy hint to the chorus, with great harmony lines. There’s a nice groove change in the bridge, introduced by a semi-clean tone guitar riff.

‘Broken Throne’ builds up to a distorted guitar strumming away, while the beat throws in an open high-hat intermittently.

‘Who Da Man’ starts off with the ever-so-funky guitar riff, with full-on phaser effect, gets right into the groove of things, the start-stops and then drum fill right before the change to the chorus is just perfect. Let’s not forget to mention the killer wah solo before the second verse. And again, those infectious stops before the chorus, repeating over and over ‘Who Da Man’. Great dynamics in the bridge as well. By the time this song is over, you’ll either be singing along or thumping your feet.

I wonder how long these guys have been playing together. The group describes their sound as a blend of hard rock and deep groove elements, coupled with melodic vocal hooks. This 4-piece outfit was formed in Toronto in mid-2004 when guitarist/vocalist Jonny Strides formed a tight bond with drummer Sir-Swift (Dario Casullo). Like every musician in Toronto, finding a solid line up was hard, but early 2006 saw the addition of Phat Phingers (Andrew Mason).

In fall 2006, Captain Starr released their first EP. This six-song album was produced and written by Jonny Strides.

They state that the common thread remains the same… ‘tight drumming, big league bass lines, “down the hatch” guitar work, captivating background harmonies, and commanding lead vocals’.

Clearly, hard work, diligence and patience have paid off, because this is excellent work from a band now beginning on the long-winding road to groove heaven.

If anyone is looking for a new band to funk with, I might suggest talking to the Captain first, Captain Starr, that is.

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