Less Cowbell More Cohesion
On the Joggersâ€šÃ„Ã´ sophmore album With a Cape and a Cane the band displays a serious amount of control in terms of musicianship and arrangement. Unfortunately the vocal melodies lack the integration needed in order to really makes these ten funky, sometimes chaotic, songs accessible.The album is sprawling, with occasional moments of cohesion. A great example of this is on the robotic, Gang of Four-esque single â€šÃ„ÃºEra Prison.â€šÃ„Ã¹ With its deadpan vocal melody pinned against a hypnotic guitar-as-bass rhythm section, it strikes a great balance between catchy and difficult. â€šÃ„ÃºSince Youâ€šÃ„Ã´re Already Upâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is the only other track that comes closest to this achievement. Things stay intact early on but take a high-pitched and frantic detour late in the song only to return to its memorable chorus. The appealing Eastern flavored intro of â€šÃ„ÃºZuggurat Trafficâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is quickly drowned out by an uninspired no hyphen funk-excursion with no destination. â€šÃ„ÃºWicked Light Sleeperâ€šÃ„Ã¹ benefits from its loose structure, stabbing guitars, and Blur-meets-Dave-Davies lazy vocals, but it ultimately suffers due to its length and monotony.
Musically the album is very consistent, but tends to feel a bit mediocre overall. Though they are rather successful at pushing their stripped-down, guitar/bass/synth/drum sound in some interesting direction it rarely reaches the height of â€šÃ„ÃºEra Prison.â€šÃ„Ã¹ In terms of its listening experience, With a Cape and a Cane doesnâ€šÃ„Ã´t swing sharply in any one direction. It is not safe to say that this album will be enjoyed by people who like their music difficult, nor by people who like it easy.