Li'l Cap'n Travis (Sleepy Bunny)
Reviewed by Michael Bertin, Fri., June 30, 2000
Li'l Cap'n Travis
(Sleepy Bunny)Tempting to think, "Hey, this sucks." Li'l Cap'n Travis is sloppy and crummy sounding, but therein lies not only the charm, but the near-genius of the band and its debut. In much the same way that the Ramones turned the bar chord into an entire genre, Li'l Cap'n Travis takes a similar, no-formal-trainees-need-apply approach with something approximating country music. While the punks really did lack any musical sophistication and chops, however, the guys in Li'l Cap'n Travis are damned competent musicians with stints in some of Austin's most underrated outfits -- Wookie, Pajamacus, Orange Mothers, Earthpig -- of recent times. The result is a textbook for a kind of anti-post-rock ethic. It pretends to nothing, but surpasses almost everything. It's free of self-consciousness, but self-aware. Silly but smart. Most importantly, it's funny, but no joke. At times it comes off like an arranged marriage of the Gear Daddies' jangly strum and the Grateful Dead's loose instrumentation (sans the trademark meanderings); at others like Willie via VU, with the subtle, Moog-laden melodies and tin guitar strum giving the music's farm-boy slacker country a retro Seventies feel. As complex or odd as that might sound, Li'l Cap'n Travis never lets go of the zeitgeist of great country music (and a lot of great rock & roll) -- beer-drinking anthems that tell the truth in ways most people are too smart to think of. Yep, being this simple is darned near genius.