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, Doesnâ€™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 â€śGoing For The Bronzeâ€ť, the album then proceeds to treat listeners with one of the most personal and touching songs this reviewer can recall hearing, in â€śOkayâ€ť â€“ a tribute to Capeâ€™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, â€śItâ€™s Always Sunnyâ€ť features backing vocals from Capeâ€™s daughter, who also contributed the albumâ€™s artwork. â€śNo Mirrorâ€ť, 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 â€śDragâ€ť, Capeâ€™s tale about his own failures in quitting smoking (complete with an utterly disgusting music video) and â€śThe Fish Rots From the Head Case Downâ€ť, a jaunty nautical number about peer pressure and group-think mentality. â€śIâ€™m Not Going to Save Youâ€ť, whilst previously released on a split 7â€ť with Drag The Riverâ€™s Jon Snodgrass, is presented again this time featuring some extra harmonies by Snodgrass.
Closing out with the aptly titled â€śI Always Knew This Was Going to End Badlyâ€ť which, while a fine song, does go on a little too long; it is clear that Capeâ€™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 Capeâ€™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.
Â© Steve Pass, Music Vice