Captain Comatose: Up in Flames

As if Captain Comatose's appetite for hedonistic debauchery weren't obvious enough, a shopping list of the group's preferred indulgences is enumerated in Up in Flames' overture “Theme From “Up In Flames” (Cool As Ice)”: “We just enjoy our lives, …we like champagne, …we like to have sex, …we like to eat good, …we like tambourines.” The album's an unabashedly trashy affair by veteran provocateurs Khan and Snax that resurrects the disco-party vibe of cocaine-fueled marathons at New York's Studio 54.

The album's first half is the strongest. The best song, the anthemic electro-soul monster “To My Song,” wails and flails, especially when a soloing synth writhes like a flagellated lizard. “Na Na Now” roars out in a guitar-stabbing groove while the title song's slithering electro-house shuffle escalates into an exhorting chorus. Resembling an S&M soundtrack, “Show Me Your Power” pairs a grinding goosestep electro-shuffle with sleazy singing and free sax wailing. The two members of this self-proclaimed 'last standing disco band' share the mic: Khan adds a teasing, filtered vocal to the club pounder “Road to Devastation” while Snax's understated turn nicely complements the infectious skip of “Night to Begin.” For all its cheekily fun moments, though, the album isn't perfect. “Poppertalk Blues” is an undistinguished blues interlude of rambling drug talk and “Had It All,” a drawn-out club groove marred by excessively raunchy guitar, verges on filler. Finally, the live disco-jam “...Surprise, Surprise...!” could have been excised altogether at no considerable loss. Still, enough strong moments appear throughout Up in Flames to recommend crashing the Captain's party.

July 2005