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Album Review

Sensible calls this his White Album in the liner notes, but next to the Captain, the Beatles were haiku poets in their moderation. It's a sprawling mess of a record, spread over two CDs and two-and-a-half hours. This may be pure conjecture, but Sensible also seems to be taking a Zappa-like approach to his work with his combination of so many elements: bouncy London pop, Pink Floydish spacy electronics, found sound bites from TV shows, grating bulldozer guitar riffs, dainty orchestral violins, and silly lyrics about space travel. Often he seems to want to shock or jolt the listener out of complacency with repeated monster guitar licks or spoken dialogue; if the goal is to irritate, he succeeds all too well (as in the bit where a woman sneezes over — and over — and over). The listener ends up being not so much dazzled as exhausted, or worse, fed up with his apparent value of cocky experimentation over cogent, humane statements. Here's a little secret: if you just want the kernel of Sensible's melodious pop sensibility and none of the extraneous nonsense, head straight to the excellent, sophisticated, and witty records of one of his occasional songwriting partners, Martin Newell.


Born: 24 April 1954 in Balham, London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Best known as a co-founder (with Chris Miller, aka Rat Scabies) of the punk band the Damned, Raymond Burns, aka Captain Sensible, is one of the most beguiling and talented individuals to emerge from the punk era. Ironically, he never sought a separate career from that of the Damned, but success with a series of singles, coupled with extended periods of inactivity by the band, made it a foregone conclusion that he would become a star in his own right. In the early '80s, Captain Sensible put together...
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Meathead, Captain Sensible
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