Though Sam Duckworth has been actively making music consistently since 2006, his last release under the Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. moniker was 2014’s ‘London Royal’, a collection of unfinished works that seemed to spell the end for Get Cape. So any comeback would have a lot to live up to. Luckily, ‘Young Adult’ does justice to the name.
‘Young Adult’ is classic Get Cape; pairing stripped-back, simple acoustic guitar with electronic flourishes that add just the right amount of atmosphere to these tracks. For example, the synth-line on ‘DNA’ creeps in subtly, bringing a lot the track, and working well with the guitar.
The album does venture out with this basic set-up, with the likes of ‘VHS Forever’ feeling more upbeat and featuring distorted guitars. In addition, ‘Always’ successfully creates a lush electronic soundscape and adds elements like strings without losing any subtlety – it may sound very sparse, but it’s one of the album’s more complex arrangements. Moments like these are a welcome change of pace, but the prevailing aesthetic of simple acoustic guitar works for the majority of ‘Young Adult’.
The main strength of the album is the emotion conveyed through Duckworth’s guitar playing and vocals, as well as lyrical themes of growing up and adulthood. This sometimes means rousing defiance: the chant bookending opener ‘Adults’ (complimenting the track’s more sombre first section), or ‘Just A Phase’ and its message of not losing yourself in the process of maturing. However, a lot of ‘Young Adult’ is about confronting the reality of the world. ‘Scrapbooks’ opens with the lyric “I gave up making scrapbooks, when I moved into full employment”. It’s a simple example of a transition in life that’s Duckworth sings devastatingly.
Though very simple musically, ‘Young Adult’ is emotionally rich. The lyrical approach may seem ham-fisted to some, it helps that Duckworth delivers his words sincerely, which makes it okay that musical complexity, for the most part, takes a back seat.
‘Young Adult’ by Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. is released on 19th January on Xtra Mile Recordings.
Words by Alan Cunningham (@funeral_polis)