Has it really been seven, maybe even eight years? Holy shit. Things were different eight years ago. Not even everyone was on MySpace back then.

Now you can talk to teenagers and they don’t even have a goddamn clue what MySpace was. They’ll say “what the fuck is MySpace, you knobhead,” because kids today have no manners. And, shit, it was long ago enough that you’ve got people out of their teens who don’t remember when Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. was actually, like, a well-regarded and exciting musical project. Slam Dunkworth programmed some beats on to his laptop and skipped around with an acoustic guitar, singing songs about being sad, and racism, and about being a deadbeat hipster. The first time I saw him play live, he was sandwiched in between the Don Ramos Players and the singer for My First Tooth’s old emo band. And he blew me away, man.
Release: 18th September 2006
Label: Atlantic
FFO: Ben Marwood, Into It. Over It, Baths

He blew everyone away for a few years. He hit some heights as-then unseen for the little scene he burst out of – only Frank Turner has gone on to top him, really. But all along, even though he sold out his anti-capitalist stances to sign to a major label, even though he gave a massively ineffective performance on Never Mind The Buzzcocks once, even though he ditched out on playing with his old friends to go be pals with Billy Bragg, he was always ours. No matter what the fuck he’s doing now, back then he belonged to us. We were there from the start, in the empty rooms. We watched him grow, we fuckin’ made him, man. Back before social networking made it a lot easier for any band to gain a nationwide following (because, let’s face it, even with MySpace it was harder even in 2005/6 than it is now), it was pretty rare to see someone blow up right in front of your eyes in the way Get Cape did.

The apex of it all, before he got too far from his D.I.Y. roots to still be beloved, and not far enough in to the mainstream to make a lasting impact, was his first full-length record. It was called The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager, which in 2013 is a fucking horrendous name, but when it finally came out in 2006 seemed to signify something more, and it was ace. Sure, yeah, the idea of the staunchly anti-capitalist/anti-mainstream etc. songs coming out on fuckin’ Atlantic records was a little bit nauseating, but you know what? Sam worked hard, and he earned it. And he did make a fucking class record. The laptop beats from his first EP and his live shows were still there, bubbling away in the background, but it was drenched in horns and strings and stuff too – a young Luke “Guns” Leighfield rocked out on the violin in a way he wouldn’t surpass in terms of pure rocking out until the absolutely ridiculous guitar solo on Have You Got Heart.

The slicker production values that squashed some of the original EP versions’ charms don’t seem like such a crime with seven years of hindsight, especially when held up next to his second full-length which legitimately only had one good song on it. It’s not raw, but it’s not as overly polished as it felt at the time. Despite the fact that it was released to fairly middling and dismissive reviews, it’s just flawless acoustic pop, with some cool electronic beats, a little bit of folk-punk force and attitude, and the occasional jazzy numbers which totally aren’t as annoying anymore. As a record, it’s aged surprisingly well, and stands up a lot better away from the confused sense of pride and loss that hung over it back then. Although Get Cape at his best will always be rooted in a specific scene and time, the shit he’s singing about is fairly universal – I guess it only goes to show how vaguely unhappy young men have been writing essentially the same songs since the goddamn dawn of time.

If you dig out Chronicles in 2013 and give it a listen, you’ll likely remember it in one of two ways. You’ll either snatch a glimpse of a familiar single from way back in the day, from the kind of music industry that hadn’t quite been completely changed by social networks and downloads, when “hearing singles” was still a thing that happened to you. Or you’ll remember it like I do – as an artefact, a piece of history from a scene that, by and large, doesn’t exist anymore. Proof that back then, the fucking sky was a limit. A twenty year old kid you knew from shitty local shows could sign to Atlantic and be a star for a while. Whichever it was, we were all a little bit more naïve back then, and this record’s got the songs to match. Go back and give it another try. See where it takes you.
Standout Tracks: The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager Part One / Part Two