Captain Danger is here to save the day!
Serving up catchy, quirky rock mixed with funk and soul, the band has an “immediately likable” musical take. Throughout Love Sweet Love, Captain Danger confronts various themes of alienation with a persistent undercurrent of hope, joy, and humor.
After years in New York City, songwriter/producer Aaron Steinberg (guitar/vocals) - buoyed by an uptick in soundtrack work - “finally escaped” NYC for Los Angeles. While performing in LA’s live music scene, Steinberg soon met up with drummer Roger “Joose” Benford (SiR, Patrick Paige, Shafiq Husayn), an LA native with an undeniable “depth of feel.” Over regular live shows in various configurations, the two developed a relationship that continues to feel musically wide open. It was a fortunate night for the band when D.C.-born Keith “E-Day” Eaddy subbed in last minute on one of the band’s dates (bass/vocals/keys) – the chemistry was immediately apparent. Eaddy’s flexibility (likely a result of a performance background that includes Macy Gray, Dam-Funk, Jody Watley, Loose Ends, Baisden After Dark band) and a similarly animated musical curiosity seemed to signal right off the bat that the way ahead for these three musicians might very probably include adventures together.
This energy has been distilled on Love Sweet Love, Captain Danger’s debut release as a band - featuring concise songs that showcase the band’s stylistic focus straightaway. The first single “Holly” is an easy starting point for assessing the band’s approach, with a propulsive groove alongside falsetto vocals expressing vulnerability. The song’s lyrics lament a city-dweller’s sense of alienation – with alienation also now getting an entirely literal and humorous treatment in a memorable new music video (directed by the Emmy-nominated Dane Lawing) featuring a vintage sci-fi spin.
Highlights also include the opener “Come On Come Along,” with a percolating bass riff that sets up the song’s title invitation refrain. Peeling back the layers, a listener might notice on a closer reading that this upbeat invitation is actually offered in the face of anticipated disaster; “never should’ve done it” is a line that recurs throughout.
Twists and turns abound on this release – curveballs include The Cure’s post-punk classic “Boys Don’t Cry,” reimagined in a roots reggae style, which also features guest vocalist India Carney (H.E.R., Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, The Voice). Next up, abusers of power - so-called “strongmen” - are depicted as being neither in reality, with their contradictions exposed against the grittier sonic textures of “Too Tough To Say.”
Yet “Hollywood Douchebag” may be the song that screams out most blatantly for attention. At live shows, the band has been impressed by the intensity of audience participation on the chorus! Along with the song’s obvious comedic bent, a real element of catharsis exists as well. An initial live performance appeared on Showtime’s comedy gem The Green Room With Paul Provenza. Also, this track is where this release derives its title – “you know why you came to this town/it was love, sweet love/of yourself” – a boomeranging reminder that a little self-awareness is probably in everyone’s best interest. Bolstered by a guest appearance from the horn section from New York’s The Televisionaries, “Hollywood Douchebag” is deep dive into the sense that life on earth can nonetheless feel otherworldly.
Also coming in 2021 is the documentary Tomorrow’s Hope (due out shortly after the release of Love Sweet Love) which will feature Captain Danger’s original song “Hope To See Change” co-written by Eaddy and Steinberg and performed by the band, and again featuring vocals by India Carney.
With a musical approach CMJ once described as “pulling off the perfect pop formula so well it doesn’t feel formulaic at all,” Captain Danger also looks back in the rear mirror towards influential artists such as Sly Stone, Prince, The Beatles, King Crimson, Curtis Mayfield, The Police, and Jimi Hendrix. At the same time, looking forward through a windshield that seems to promise continued onslaughts of uncertainty, mistrust, and yet still more alienation, Captain Danger is a band that intends to do its part in focusing energy on making the days ahead a bit more fun.
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