Brave Captain Nothing Lives Long, He Sang, Only the Earth and the Mountains

The demise of the Boo Radleys was one of the more unfortunate losses to British guitar pop music. However, singer-songwriter Martin Carr has carried on under his alter ego, Brave Captain. Nothing..., his second solo release, finds Carr orbiting in space with soft pop psychedelia far more challenging than his work with the Radleys. On Nothing..., Carr becomes a one-man band of sorts; playing most of the instruments himself. The self-indulgence of this project may have allowed him more musical freedom but the end result misses the mark somewhat. Tracks like "Tell Her You Want Her," "Raining Stones" and "Reuben" work nicely, with lush string and brass arrangements and goofy electronics - these retro pop tunes are what one would expect to come from the mind of Carr. However, the rest of the album just sounds sloppy. In one of the more appropriate lines of the project, Carr sings "Been out of my head so long, the years have come and gone and left me out of phase." He's probably right about that. The attempts at '60s, spacy, Beatle-esque pop have the right idea, but it's a bit frustrating to hear him fall short of what he's definitely capable of. Even his voice sounds strained on many of the tracks. Perhaps he should re-think his own advice on the last track, "Go With Yourself," where Carr sings the praises of doing things your own way. (Thirsty Ear)