It’s seems like 2005 has been a capital year for The Capitol Years. Hailing from Philadelphia and being the brainchild of frontman Shai Halpern, these boys got the honor of opening for the reunited Pixies for their first show that they had ever played in twelve years. On top of that they got to do a weeklong stint on NBC’s Last Call and gained some much deserved overseas hype by touring the UK with NYC hot-rod revivalists the Mooney Suzuki. All of that said, Let Them Drink could be a top contender for one of the best albums of 2005 that may not have initially caught your attention.
The psychedelics whiz around like bottle rockets on the opening track “Juicers” which is a very communicable and pulsating number reminiscent of mid-sixties Who while the title track is a dead-ringer for a gem that could be exhumed for one of the many Nuggets compilations that are hard to pass by in record stores these days. “Solid Gold” contains a trotting beat, a mellow chorus fresh out of the sixties, and a comely organ sound lingering in the background.
Let Them Drink can also be amusingly brash at moments suck as with “Mounds of Money” and on the standout track “Lucky” which recalls the arrogant tromp of the Dandy Warhols along with the flagrant cynicism in Halpern’s lyrics. Speaking of power-pop, “Ramona” is a fine example which carries the sprightly sensibility of Weezer while “Everyone is a Skunk” has the good fun of a drunken night out. Eat your heart out, Cheap Trick!
Fans of Wilco will savor the complaisant nature of “Giant Drunks” and the shoegazer whores will most certainly get their rocks off with “Nothing to Say” and give the other older hipsters a Jones to listen to their old Pavement albums that have been collecting dust on their CD shelves all of these years.
In the middle of 2001 Halpern released Meet Yr Acres recorded at his home on a four-track recorder. It was passed all around the globe and while it wasn’t a major commercial success in the indie sense, it was critically esteemed and landed a spot on Magnet magazine’s “Top Ten Hidden Treasures” list for the year. His songwriting skills were compared to that of George Harrison, Bob Pollard, and even Beck. The listeners of Let Them Drink will see that those comparisons as more than apt when they hear the jangle of “Watch it Not End” and the untitled hidden track, a folksy, feel-good, serenade as ambrosial as it is cleaver.
Another thing that makes Let Them Drink is its brevity — the album clocks in at only thirty-nine minutes. Just the perfect timing for an album of such high sonic caliber.
Guided by Voices – Bee Thousand
The Raspberries – Fresh
Dopo Yume – True Romance