In January of 2010, Californian punk rocker turned folk singer Joey Cape released the first of a series of 12 tracks which would form his second solo album, Doesn’t Play Well With Others. Each month thereafter, another track would be released to those who purchased a subscription from his website. Now, 12 months later, the album is complete and due to be shipped in hard-copy formats next month, along with a DVD containing interviews with Cape and the home-made music videos for each track, which were released to YouTube throughout the process.
Opening with the eerie “Going For The Bronze”, the album then proceeds to treat listeners with one of the most personal and touching songs this reviewer can recall hearing, in “Okay” – a tribute to Cape’s mentor and Rat Pack guitarist, Matt Ratt, who lost his life in late 2009. The emotion Cape conveys in this song is palpable. A flawless song.
Moving on, “It’s Always Sunny” features backing vocals from Cape’s daughter, who also contributed the album’s artwork. “No Mirror”, with its string arrangement, sweet vocal melody and campfire sing-along chorus, almost causes the listener to overlook its once again very personal and touching lyrics.
This album is surprising in its personality and maturity, given that Cape is best known for singing up-beat pop-punk numbers about beards, coffee and beer goggles (when not playing guitar in novelty punk-rock covers band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes) and is essential listening for any fan of punk, folk or alt-country.
Other standout tracks include “Drag”, Cape’s tale about his own failures in quitting smoking (complete with an utterly disgusting music video) and “The Fish Rots From the Head Case Down”, a jaunty nautical number about peer pressure and group-think mentality. “I’m Not Going to Save You”, whilst previously released on a split 7” with Drag The River’s Jon Snodgrass, is presented again this time featuring some extra harmonies by Snodgrass.
Closing out with the aptly titled “I Always Knew This Was Going to End Badly” which, while a fine song, does go on a little too long; it is clear that Cape’s ability to produce a quality album without his bandmates in Lagwagon or Bad Astronaut to assist has taken a giant leap forward from his first solo effort, Bridge, released in 2008. For those who prefer to hear Cape’s vocals backed by drums and crunchy guitars though, he has hinted to Music Vice that a number of these songs will be given the full-band treatment with an as-yet un-named new project currently in the works.
© Steve Pass, Music Vice