Richard Kapp: Talking To The People (self released)
CD / DL
Richard Kapp has been making Neil Hannon and Ben Folds like pop with a mainland European twist for nigh on ten years now. His last two albums marked a notable change in lyrical tone with an articulate anger and curiosity belying the charming melodies and big arrangements in his songs. He’s just released his latest long player & here’s our review.
On Talking To The People Richard Kapp has allowed his chamber pop ensemble The Gowns to have a break. It’s a more stripped down, bare bones record that sees him take on the role of piano-punk crusader railing against convention.
The title track is a frank, brash take on the modern chatter. Kapp is at his best lyrically when challenging the parameters of the humdrum. He batters his piano angrily but with great conviction and a degree of composure.
Forget About You allows him to be more reflective, mournful and a little bit wry but Dog Poo returns the Austrian to his natural state of melodic, rhythmic songs full of musical and lyrical hooks, the excrement acting as a kind of all encompassing microcosm of life’s ups and downs.
Sonturia begins with haunting harmonies that sound like religious chanting. It’s a little on the weird side placed among songs that sound like they were penned by Randy Newman or Billy Joel on a drunken night out. That’s the thing with Kapp, he’s quite unpredictable and you can never really tell if he’s being funny or sincere. Maybe he’s trying to be both at the same time here.
Obviously he cares little for the rat race and I Don’t Fucking Care is pretty much a straight up swipe at chasing materialism and status. The subject matter aside, it’s actually a beautiful song.
Once In A While bemoans fleeting moments of enjoyment in life featuring an aching melody and Whatever Theme eschews the lyrics in favour of a classical-pop instrumental.
Granted is a brief yet potent electronic based number while Portion of Life touches on similiar lyrical themes to the rest of the record.
Unhindered by brash arrangements, Kapp’s composition skills remain intact when his songs are reduced to naked vignettes, yet he still manages to avoid the tag of a piano bar singer. He’s a little bit too dangerous to ever be called a crooner. This record proves that Kapp’s piano tinkling and acute observations are as enchanting when alone and using just the most minimal embellishments. Another fine effort from the Austrian.
Listen to title track Talking to the People:
All words by Rob McNamara. More work by Rob on Louder Than War can be found here. Rob can also be found on Twitter where he uses the handle @whatrobdidnext.