The Capsules: Northern Lights & Southern Skies
Sometimes a band can pinpoint their genre on their Facebook page. Sometimes they have so much trouble that they make up a ridiculous one just to be done with it. In the case of The Capsules, they’ve perfectly described their music with the term “dream pop.” Though their songs have been used in Borderlands 2 and Spongebob Squarepants, I could picture many of the songs from their latest release,Northern Lights & Southern Skies, being used for a dreamy, floaty Final Fantasy commercial. Sidenote: If you watch the YouTube video of “Starting Tomorrow,” their song from Borderlands 2, accompanied by gameplay footage, it’s really odd to see the juxtaposition of the innocent vocals and all of that destruction. Back to the dream pop: There’s something magical and spacey about “Across the Sky,” the opening track; the mainly synthesized music sets the tone for an electronica album but it soon makes a soft transition into something just a touch more organic with guitars used on the next track, “From the Start.”
This Lawrence, Kansas, trio is made up of married couple and multi-instrumentalists Jason and Julie Shields plus drummer Kevin Trevino. Northern Lights & Southern Skies is the sixth release for the band and took over a year to record and perfect.
Every album needs some element to link each of the tracks together, The Capsules have that down. Though each song is quite different, some heavier on guitars, some heavier on synthesizer, Julie Shield’s sweet, clear vocals stay consistent throughout the album. Maybe too consistent. The songs all seemed to blend together to me because her vocals were so similar. I would have loved to hear more emotion or variation throughout the album, the only song where I noticed a difference in the vocals was “Time Will Only Tell” when Shields lowered her soaring voice on the chorus and gave it a slightly more aggressive sound. When you listen to them closely and ignore the vocals, each track is actually very different. “Our Apocalypse” has a soft, subdued industrial sound; “Across the Sky” and “With Signs Repeating” are bridging on dance tracks; “Time Will Only Tell” reminds me of a softer version of Jakalope; “Test Drive the Other Side” takes on a darker sound.
Adding this album to a playlist you plan to listen to on shuffle is highly recommended; the songs are good but I found I appreciated each one a lot more when I didn’t listen to them as an entire album because it allowed me to pick up on the elements of each track instead of just noting that the vocals were so similar on every one. It’s a solid album, so check it out if you like dream pop or if you liked what you heard in Borderlands 2.
MP3: The Capsules “Across the Sky”