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splendid > reviews > 1/20/2003
Captain Kidder
Captain Kidder
I Oh I
Superslave


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Halloween Jaw"

Buy me now
Captain Kidder principal Judas Vigilante, according to his web site, is a family man and schizophrenic who crafts "alternative folk" in Northern Ireland. While he notes influences including Vic Chesnutt and Will Oldham, Vigilante's music, at its best, recalls solo acoustic work by Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum. The comparison jumps out at you from the onset of this short album: the opener "To Venus Skull a Lady" showcases Vigilante's taut voice, singing with about as much force and in about the same register as Mangum.

Vigilante exhibits a keen sense of melody in his spare songs, which feature only voice and acoustic guitar, though his lyrics rarely surprise. Still, there are some gems. Lyrics like "stick the stick where the stick goes" in "Song for You in Waiting" come off with a Syd Barrett-like forlornness, a characteristic that imbues almost all of I Oh I's selections with a compelling intimacy. So it goes with the simple and melodic "Please", a quieter number that begs in which Vigilante begs listeners to do various things for him, including killing him. The song segues into the very similar-sounding but darker "Halloween Jaw", which is a highlight of the ten song set. Does Vigilante share the twisted genius as the aforementioned Barrett and Mangum? Not really. Even so, if emotionally raw singer-songwriter fare is your bag, you will enjoy I Oh I.



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