As they like to say, honesty is the best policy. When it comes to punk rock outfit Captain, We’re Sinking, these guys don’t fuck around as they sing about heartbreak, growing up and simply dealing with the day-to-day shit life throws at you. But where some bands try to wax poetically about it all, this Pennsylvania punk-rock outfit is blunt and hard-driving in getting such emotions across without diluting them through fancy words or perfected vocal harmonies. Mix that with something that can be driving and gritty one song and simple, yet somber the next, and you’ll get somewhere close to the band’s debut LP The Future Is Cancelled. It’s a strong first step for the band that is sure to grab your attention through 12 tracks of honest, no-frills punk rock that runs the gamut on approaching just how they’ll tell their story as the album progresses.
Musically, The Future Is Cancelled has some ups and downs, both in delivering energy and in execution of the songwriting. Opener “Adultery” is an off-the-rails number that finds barely spoken words and slightly screamed melodies weaving through razor-sharp brooding in the guitars that occasionally explodes with off-kilter energy via the drums. But where the writing might seem a little strange at first, the song’s resolution about two minutes in with the dual-vocal singing of ‘Goodnight, tonight I am leaving!’ ushers in the realization of the track. It isn’t quite like this through the entirety of the record though, as songs like “Montreal,” “Brother” and “Here’s to Forever” buzz with strumming guitars and storytelling that is anything but stock. The latter in particular channels a bit of Punchline in the vocal approach, something that pops up here and there in the output as the two vocalists trade off songs and parts at times in a way that keeps the singing/screaming/yelling/talking fresh throughout. The added female vocals in both “Montreal” and “A Bitter Divorce” are a nice touch as well, adding to the emotional pull of both parts as they are a bit mellower in the scope of each song.
It’s particularly tough sometimes to pick out lyrics even on my favorite record, but there are certainly moments on this LP that stand out both in execution and cathartic output for varying reasons. “A Bitter Divorce” finds the comparison between medicine and disease through personification (‘She said it was when you gave up on me / And you stopped being my medicine, became my disease, that’s why I have to leave again’), while “Montreal” tells an interesting portrait of love injected with some stark proclamations (‘Have you seen my life? It’s like I don’t even try’). “Lake” and “More Tequila, Less Joe” are a bit more swaying and deliberate musically, allowing for both to again personify a stories that each hit hard in their own way. While neither is vague enough to be totally understandable, the emotions poured into each make them still hit even if you, for example, don’t identify with the girl sung about in “Lake.”
The combination of pure emotional storytelling and more often than not rock-solid songwriting has The Future Is Cancelled turning some heads for fans of bands like Alkaline Trio and even Punchline. This album isn’t exactly genre-changing, but where it might lack at times with outright creativity it makes up for in the ability to be both scarily understandable and overwhelmingly brash in the delivery of no-holds-barred penmanship. For a band on its debut though, Captain, We’re Sinking does enough to make this a fairly memorable first outing from start to finish, making this a band you’re going to want to get in on.