Cap A Capo - ...Have You Got What You Paid For? (Cover Artwork)

Cap A Capo

...Have You Got What You Paid For? (2009)


…Have You Got What You Paid For? is the debut and only album yet from Cap A Capo, a Sydney band who have developed their own concoction of ska and punk, in the vein of many crack-rock-steady-influenced acts.

While a number of seemingly lighthearted tracks are dedicated to a lifestyle including drug use, as in "4/522," or beverage,s as in "Camperdown Ho-Down," ("Drink, drink in the summer sun / Running amok and having fun"), and in addition to a dislike for the police, as is characteristic of so many punk bands, Cap A Capo develop their social commentary in songs such as "Wannabe Pig $cum," "Australian Identity," "Raping Nature," and the somewhat haunting "Warzone."

"Piracy" displays the group's ethical stance with regard to music, namely that it should be free, and that "the real pirates are the corporate industry." The title …Have You Got What You Paid For? itself is taken from a lyric on this track, and true to their ideas the band have released the album for free. Similarly, the song "Why I Listen To Ska" ("I know I'll never get far / Don't wanna be no rock star / But I'm a skanking my ska") exposes their motivations (or lack thereof, when it comes to selling out).

Some of my favorite tracks on the album include the existential "Existence," the unity call and critique of elitism in the punk scene of "Elitist P.C.," as well as "Short End Of The Stick," an acoustic ballad of dispossession and homelessness ("They robbed him of his freedom / And took away his land"). And of course "Tear It Down" ("Your beliefs are based on peace / I see no peace or release in the Middle East"), the final and sixteenth track on the release, with a classic reggae beat to it.

Musically, this falls into the ska/punk category if you're into categorizing things. It's got everything from growls to whoas, and upstrokes to faster, harder parts. Arpeggios and licks are played over clean upstrokes and alternated with the round, fat and low-gained sound of the distorted guitars, which contrast with the sharp crunches more common in hardcore music. The production is clean, enabling one to distinctly hear every instrument in the mix.

This is a fun album, which should probably please any fan of the crack rock steady genre, and for the nifty sum of zero dollars, you should really check this out.