Song of the Day: My Sad Captains – Goodbye

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Goodbye” by My Sad Captains from the 2014 album Best of Times on Bella Union.

My Sad Captains – Goodbye (MP3)

Sturdy, languid, and wistful, London’s My Sad Captains do their name justice without getting caught in melodramatic slog by staying focused on crafting songs that fit into their atmospheric tendencies and not the other way around. Formed in 2004, frontman Ed Wallis began working on new songs in the wake of his former outfit’s breakup, steadily writing songs until realizing that his output was better suited for a full band than a solo act. Within a year, he’d recruited his former bandmate Nick Goss on guitar, his brother Jim on drums, and Jack Swayne and Cathy Lucas on bass and violin, respectively. The band made their recorded debut in 2007 with a 7″ on Fortuna Pop! before being offered a deal with Stolen Recordings. Since then, Lucas has departed for Fanfarlo, Swayne has been replaced by Dan Davis, and the band has signed to Simon Raymonde’s Bella Union for Best of Times, their third and most recent album.

The band’s previous work had more of an organic, somewhat folk bend to it, not least because of the presence of a violinist, but Best of Times leans more towards electronic tones, with a newfound prevalence of Goss’ sonics taking the foreground alongside Wallis’ songwriting. “Goodbye” is subtly powerful, letting most of its notes echo for added dramatic effect as Wallis’ vocals drift along in a near whisper. When he sighs “Gravity always gets you in the end… I want to say goodbye to you”, his voice is inflected with a familiar bittersweetness. Tellingly, each instrument in “Goodbye” is mixed into an evened out landscape, turning the song into a quiet storm of reprieve that, as soft as it is, punches harder than bombast could have.

My Sad Captains have European gigs booked throughout the summer, but if they make plans to come Stateside, that news will be on their website and Facebook. For now, watch the video, which was directed by bassist Dan Davis, for “Goodbye”:

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