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Published: 2013/06/04
by Brian Robbins

Captain Driggs


With their debut release Millihelen Captain Driggs offers up a mind-bender of a soundtrack to what might be the last night of a modern-day Dean Moriarty – foot flat-to-the-floor and hurtling into the night, all sweat-soaked and speed-fueled teeth-grinding madness.

Or maybe it’s something altogether different. Captain Driggs paints massive pictures with their words – and the beauty of scenes this big is they make for all sorts of interpretations and none of them are wrong.

Captain Driggs (bassist Matt Domser; guitarist Dan Roehrig; drummer David Cornejo; and vocalists Tesa Arozqueta and Stephen Burd) manages a pretty cool feat on Millihelen ’s eight tracks: they explore a multitude of styles while firmly establishing their own sound.

The album is ushered in with what sounds like the sweep of a radio dial before settling in on the cool jerk pogo beat of “Moving On”. Burd has the wheel, floorboards littered with empties and empty pockets (“Just a couple coins that clink in my hand”) – but feeling as strong as the groove behind him. An off-ramp leads to a short passage of classic roots skank; an interlude of multi-colored sound fog drifts through and – wham – the band is back on the midnight highway with Arozqueta in the driver’s seat for “Escape”, sounding determined and white-knuckled. The break that comes at the 2:39 mark is a fine showcase for Domser, Roehrig, and Cornejo: bottomless surf drums and cymbal cascades; wild-ass-yet-melodic guitar; and an unflappable bass-driven groove. Power trio? Oh, yes. Driving music? Oh, yass

“Abracadabra” is a bit of magic in a dark alley. “Third World” features nice weaving by Burd and Arozqueta (over a soundscape that shifts from laid-back reggae from Mars to chainsaw-in-the-passing-lane roar). “Don’t Take My Girl” is a bit of softness; “Shapes” is a headful of spiky, thrashing funkiness; and “Fast Dance” – pounding rhythm and well-structured guitar madness – is another example of well-controlled chaos. It seems like the song can’t help but highside over the guardrail, but the left wheel remains magically glued to the yellow line.

And that, in a nutshell, is all you need to know about Captain Driggs: just hang on and take it all in. These cats know how to drive.


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