Li'l Cap'n Travis

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Li'l Cap'n Travis

Lonesome and Losin' (Sleepy Bunny) Li'l Cap'n Travis is pretty sweet. Not sweet as in, "Dude, that's sweet," rather as in, "Aw shucks, how sweet." What's remarkable is not that in the irony-addled post-y'allternative indie world they choose to be somewhat straight, but that they can be so, well, sweet about it, and not only pull it off, but do it with a consistency that makes them seem almost too clever for their own good. Songs like the title track and "Alone at the Drugstore" are caked in, get this, sensitivity. C'mon, they manage to invoke the FFA in song without it being a flat-out joke or a hunk of cheese so trite it would be an affront to Gnashville brand fromage. Whereas many post-angst contemporaries still lean on their own disaffection, the Cap'n embraces what might be called sincere detachment. Sure, they venture into the fun-poking realm ("Restless," "Pink Elephants"), but it's more self-flagellating than it is conceited, and its truth is more palatable than any contrived pop sentiment. Moreover, the subbing out of multi-instrumentalist Earthpig for lap steel player Gary Newcomb lends Lonesome and Losin' an accidental country warmth that the band's self-titled debut was a little thinner in. Lonesome and Losin' is no masterpiece, no work of staggering genius, dragging in the back end around "Cupid" and the Ethan Azarian-penned "Young Girl in Love," but its honesty and smarts make it damn near impossibly charming. Oh yeah, it even rocks occasionally. Pretty sweet, dude.

***.5

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