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Joey Cape - Bridge (Cover Artwork)

Joey Cape

Joey Cape: BridgeBridge (2008)
Suburban Home Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: BryneBryne
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Joey Cape has never been a guy to stay dormant for very long; one look at his resume would confirm that. Helping to create the `90s Fat sound with Lagwagon? Embracing some slightly more obtuse influences in Bad Astronaut? Jamming with his buddies in the Playing Favorites? Ironically covering classic.
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Joey Cape has never been a guy to stay dormant for very long; one look at his resume would confirm that. Helping to create the `90s Fat sound with Lagwagon? Embracing some slightly more obtuse influences in Bad Astronaut? Jamming with his buddies in the Playing Favorites? Ironically covering classics with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes? Check, check, check and check. So as a gracefully aging punk rock frontman, the next logical step in his career arc would be a straightforward solo record, right?

Of course, Bridge isn't the Caper's first solo output; his acoustic split LP with No Use for a Name's Tony Sly released in 2004 polarized many listeners. But this is Cape's first record with his name solely on the cover, and though it's a nice idea, the finished product leaves a little to be desired.

Firstly, Bridge isn't entirely comprised of 'new' material; five of these tracks ("Errands," "B-Side," "Memoirs and Landmines," "No Little Pill" and "Mission Unaccomplished") first appeared as Lagwagon songs on that band's recent EP, I Think My Older Brother Used to Listen to Lagwagon. Granted, the Bridge sessions took place over the course of three years so it's hard to know what was recorded when, but this record is undeniably hurt by nearly half of the tracks on Bridge having been first released on that Lagwagon EP just a few months ago.

As for the actual nature of these songs, too often Cape doesn't do enough with them, resulting in a record that's not nearly varied enough to retain a listener's interest. A little broader experimentation with tempos would've done wonders for Bridge, but instead the majority of these songs are quiet, somber numbers that tend to run together. The record's first two tracks, "Errands" and the admittedly heartbreaking "We're Not in Love Anymore" follow this formula. The Iron & Wine-esque production and delivery on "Canoe" just doesn't fit (although the voiceover provided by Cape's daughter Violet is pretty adorable), and while the keys in "Non-Sequitur" give the song a decidedly different feel, it's too little, too late. It's not even that these songs are bad; there's just too many of them.

It's a shame too, because when Cape elects to increase the tempo and sing with some conviction, the results are pretty solid. The warmth and honesty behind "Who We've Become" makes for an enjoyable listen, and the light percussion and faster strumming found on "B-Side" give the song a Bad Astronaut vibe that will undoubtedly make most listeners miss that band even more. Speaking of Bad Astronaut, closing track "Home" wouldn't have sounded out of place on a BA record, with a smooth, quiet buildup that ends in a full-on electric guitar and drum assault with Cape yelling "Can you see them?" with more passion than in any of the previous 11 tracks.

Given the quality of Cape's other projects, Bridge feels like an unfocused effort that only huge fans would be able to appreciate. It might sound strange, but there's not much doubt in my mind that with less time to record and less time between sessions Joey Cape would be capable of creating an excellent solo record, so here's to hoping that happens in the future.

FULL ALBUM STREAM

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
American Steel - Dear Friends and Gentle HeartsThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Lawrence Arms - Apathy and ExhaustionThe Gaslight Anthem - Señor and the QueenDead to Me - Little BrotherThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundPropagandhi - Supporting CasteDillinger Four - C I V I L W A RBad Astronaut - Houston: We Have a Drinking ProblemAlexisonfire - Old Crows / Young Cardinals

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
brookslikesmusics (June 19, 2012)

...also, these songs were written/recorded in this form before they were turned into Lagwagon songs for the "I Think My Older Brother..." EP.This music isn't for everyone, but people that get the Caper will definitely love these songs.

brookslikesmusics (June 19, 2012)

Absurd review. These songs are some of the most powerful music I've ever heard. If you can't feel this music there is something seriously wrong with your feelings.

benzilla (October 8, 2009)

haha i mean *him* who the fk is jim? lol

benzilla (October 8, 2009)

this album was so good. i saw jim in denton and he hung out with us for a little bit. hes the coolest dude ever

punkinohio (December 12, 2008)

I liked Tony Sly's acoustic stuff better than the Caper's on the split, and I don't think Bridges is as good as his effort on the split. Kind of blah.

abracadaver (December 12, 2008)

Damn, am I the only one who liked this album? Well I loved the Lagwagon EP, so I guess it makes sense. Look forward to hearing more solo work from the Caper.

nebraska (December 11, 2008)

i disagree with some of this review. as opposed to the songs that are on the ep hurting the album, i think it's a positive. you get to see the songs in their pure form. I do agree, however, that he could have done a bit more with some of these songs.

R3vengeTherapy (December 10, 2008)

You need to put in some work with the whole reading-comprehension bit. I was saying that some music has almost nothing to justify its existence; it's not creative or, at the very least, catchy. Granted, I've only given this stuff a cursory listening, but musicians need to hold themselves to a higher standard and not settle for releasing music that's beneath them.

My reading comprehension is perfectly okay, thanks. I think you fail to understand that people make music as an outlet for their thoughts and emotions. I feel like I'm repeating myself here...oh yeah, I am. This record has plenty to justify it's existence, but if you'd listen to it and read the lyrics you might discover that before typing something stupid.

mikexdude (December 10, 2008)

Bryne, for some reason, this is one of my favorite reviews of yours. It comes off extremely professional to me.

trolley (December 10, 2008)

I happen to love this EP. I think Cape is brilliant

And Xote, I completely agree.

skankbook (December 10, 2008)

I consider "Bridge" to be "Tony Sly Split 2.0." As mentioned, there's not really a lot of BRAND NEW material, but each song is different enough from the previously released versions that it keeps your interest (though nothing as dramatically different than the version of "Violins" found on the Tony Sly split).

I doubt anyone else here picked up the Neil Diamond album that came out over the summer, but this record has a similar approach: aging rocker (though Joey is nowhere near Neil in age) releases personal music from the depths of his heart that he's been recording over the past few years and doesn't care what you think about him anymore.

There IS room for improvement (a few songs seemed to be building to something that never comes), but who am I to judge one of the better musicians of the past decade and a half?

Xote (December 10, 2008)

"but musicians need to hold themselves to a higher standard and not settle for releasing music that's beneath them."

Who the fuck are you? Really who the fuck do you think you are to tell somebody how to make their music? He wrote songs. He liked the songs. He released them. You don't like it fuck off. It's called punk rock. It's called undergorund music.

And for the record. This is alright. No more no less. But you know what... I rather have an okay album than a horrible album. And theres no way this guy would write a horrible album.

ManlightAnthem (December 10, 2008)

This is a great record. It is sincere and has a very honest quality to it. It fits very nicely with the other Suburban Home records to come out recently. Not one track fails. I think the songs from the last Lagwagon EP are not as good as the acoustic versions featured on this record.

paulrulzdood (December 10, 2008)

its ok, a little boring for my tastes...its like elliot smith or something...too somber and slow and acoustic records just don't do it for me overall. its good, but really only for huge Joey Cape fans that celebrate his entire catelog. for the casual lagwagon fan...uhhh, go get their new EP instead. i prefer the full band versions of these songs and they do all tend to run together.

eazyd2 (December 10, 2008)

needs more cowbell.

BDN (December 10, 2008)

I think this is an excellent album and don??t see how other versions of some songs being released as Lagwagon (an extension of Cape) diminishes the value or legitimacy of these recordings at all.

android (December 10, 2008)

really good review.
I love the Caper and all of those songs on that album are really great songs, but as an album it fails keep my attention.

shot_in_the_dark (December 10, 2008)

"Yes, because music should be made simply to get stuck in your head. Stupid comment."

You need to put in some work with the whole reading-comprehension bit. I was saying that some music has almost nothing to justify its existence; it's not creative or, at the very least, catchy. Granted, I've only given this stuff a cursory listening, but musicians need to hold themselves to a higher standard and not settle for releasing music that's beneath them.

batgirl138 (December 10, 2008)

"Given the quality of Cape's other projects, Bridge feels like an unfocused effort that only huge fans would be able to appreciate."

Valid point.......and perhaps that is why I love Bridge so much. Joey does set himself with a rather self-inflicted high bar........but hearing this album made my year.....and continues to make my day every time I listen.

P.S. He wrote most of these songs for the solo effort and for Afterburner.......then Lagwagon ended up recording them first because they were good songs and because Joey himself says he always puts Lagwagon first, so naturally the solo effort fell upon the afterburner. Ha.

sunnovahgunn (December 9, 2008)

I enjoy this record, very relaxing.

mikexdude (December 9, 2008)

Stop being so FUCKING bitter!

bryne (December 9, 2008)

"bitter as hell"?

xshoutoutx (December 9, 2008)

I haven't listened to any of his new stuff yet, and there is no denying that Cape can write a damn good song, but he's just gotten so mundane it's beyond belief. I can only take so many years of the same song structure and sound before I move on.

seth_uber_alles (December 9, 2008)

It's alright. "Canoe" is an excellent song. I do think the Lagwagon EP was mediocre as well. I loved his half of the split with Tony Sly. Anything he does in the future will probably be better... I hope.

R3vengeTherapy (December 9, 2008)

Some people just put out music just for the sake of putting out music. It's like they don't care that there's nothing at all interesting, refreshing, or even catchy about it.

Yes, because music should be made simply to get stuck in your head. Stupid comment.

Joey Cape made this record because he felt like he had something to say and express. You don't like it? Don't listen. It's not like he just said "ah what the hell, I need some money, I'll release this on a really small label that only a niche audience cares about. It'll be great."

I need time to digest this. I think I share the same opinion as the reviewer though. It's not quite hitting the mark I'd expect from him, being that Lagwagon will forever be one of my favorites.

blanktapesemptybottles (December 9, 2008)

this review is bitter as hell, that being said it takes a few listens to catch everything, I think it's pretty amazing though, and the last song was the perfect way to end it like, "man I really belong in punk rock"

cronophrog (December 9, 2008)

I'm a big fan of this album. It feels really comforting.

mikexdude (December 9, 2008)

Do not understand the love for this man. In my opinion, the guitar made Lagwagon.

This is okay.

Jeevz (December 9, 2008)

This album definetly has a somber feel to it. It has its time and place though, like falling asleep or after a wake. It's good for what it is but it hasn't got many spins in my CD player after the first few listens. I happen to like all the stuff thats on the Lagwagon EP, thats what saves it for me.

bonerchamp (December 9, 2008)

Actually, he put a painstaking amount of thought into the making of this record, and as I recall he was a little bit self conscious about releasing it. Not my favorite work from The Caper, but still good and worth listening to when the mood strikes.

shot_in_the_dark (December 9, 2008)

Just listened to a few songs from the stream, and as far as I can tell that'll be it for me. Some people just put out music just for the sake of putting out music. It's like they don't care that there's nothing at all interesting, refreshing, or even catchy about it.

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