Album review: CAP OUTRUN – High On Deception

Frontiers [release date 10.12.21]

Swedish rock band, Cap Outrun’s debut album integrates Progrock with Melodic Rock. A bold mix of nostalgia and modernism.

One of the prime reasons for Progrock’s popularity is the music’s illusion of improvisation. You’re not quite sure what’s coming next, it could be a lightning strike of brilliance, it could be a damp squib.

Enjoying a significant share of the former, Cap Outrun craft sturdily melodic songs, angular, granular, often creating musical tangles that combine hard rock convention with an improvisational ethos, real or imagined.

Their debut album is impossible to categorise. The PR blurb is as short a piece of prose as you’re likely to encounter. So we’re on our own, feeling our way in the dark.

There’s a lot of moving parts to this album. Just when you think you’ve got one of them pinned down, it squirms out of your grasp. And while the album provides full on sonic engagement, it’s impossible to pick standouts.

At random then, openers ‘Crazy Enough’ and ‘High On Deception’ move at different tempos. They share a rich mix of AOR and Progressive Rock in the manner of Toto, then add Steely Dan like Jazz/Rock touches at just the right moments. The classy piano breaks add romanticism to an already busy rock’n'roll recipe.

‘Disaster Mindset’ is at once quite stripped down and also very romantic – a sophisticated ballad for grown ups, with a playfully proggy middle section.

‘Shadows On The Wall’ is a peach. The soft swell of keys and pealing guitar notes introduce us to more Westcoast Prog/Rock, though the excessively wordy lyrics go some way in spoiling the effect.

‘Our Brightest Day’ and ‘Run Before We Walk’ could only be described as out and out melodic rock songs. They show up vocalist, Chandler (Outloud) Mogen as being a key recruit, handling the sentiments and emotions in these songs with the gravitas and style of a Lou Gramm or Denis DeYoung.

Along with Mogen, founding members Andree Theander (guitars) and Erik Wiss, (keyboards), could really be onto something with this band. Mixing genres doesn’t have a great success rate, but if bands like the Von Hertzen Brothers can do it, why not Cap Outrun? ***1/2

Review by Brian McGowan

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