Sam Duckworth, best known to the wider world as Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, has been keeping himself busy since the release of his last record, 2008′s Searching For The Hows And Whys. He’s organised the final gig at the London Astoria, performed at the G20 protests, debated with Ken Livingstone and appeared on an episode of Hollyoaks. No, really; do a YouTube search and you’ll find proof. Now comes a self-titled third album.
Oddly, given his recentl activities, it is an album less fired up by anger with current affairs and more energised with life. Songs like Queen For A Day and Morning Light takes the in-your-face attitude of other ‘man with a guitar’ types like Frank Turner and gives it more of a pop sheen, and to great effect. In contrast, the likes of Where Will You Stand? and The Plot are more pensive and aligned with his early beginnings, and opener Hand Me Downs features Duckworth attempting higher vocal registers. Whilst not technically perfect, it is quite charming in its earnestness.
The word ‘earnest’ fits Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly like a glove, for Duckworth is very much an artist who wears his heart on his sleeve. That might be for better or for worse depending on your viewpoint, but the passion shines through; The Uprising is, as you’d expect from a song titled after a form of social movement, rousing, and one of the strongest songs on the record, propelled forth by the sheer momentum of emotion that runs through it.
Even the collaborations feel genuine. On paper, the thought of a collaboration with drum ‘n’ bass outfit Shy FX would be enough to cause eyebrows to raise, but the end result on Collapsing Cities is nowhere near as painful as might be expected. Baaba Maal is another guest star, featuring on All Of This Is Yours and showcasing how much of an influence Duckworth’s experience on the Africa Express project was.
The third album is usually seen as the one that defines an artist’s career but, wisely in this case, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly is a smart and well thought out progression in sound and, as a whole, flows brilliantly. There is plenty of variation and it captures the solo singer-songwriter at arguably his most playful. Duckworth is still just 24 years old and has plenty of time to develop things even further. He’s made a charming record that will please fans and perhaps win over those who weren’t previously sold on his talents.