Captain, 100 Club, London <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Captain, the five-piece from Cambridge now based in north London, have been wafting across the airwaves with their shimmering single "Glorious", vying with Gnarls Barkley and Lily Allen for song of the summer. So the 100 Club is sold out, with punters eager to see if they can live up to the buzz, as the ethereal, ambient-like intro to "Hazelville", the opening track of their forthcoming debut album, starts up.

As the guitar riff kicks in and the frontman Rik Flynn and gamine keyboard-player Clare Szembeck combine to sing, "You couldn't let him into your life", I'm already sold. "Broke", their previous single, follows, their vocal sparring like a courtship dance, and Flynn's winning way with an "oh-oh-oh" already in evidence.

"This is a song about infidelity," he says, bluntly, to introduce "Wax". Tall, wearing a grey trilby and a black T-shirt with mock-royal crest and "Created First Among Equals" slogan, Flynn cups his hands over the mic as he whispers, "to get you home", before an exploding finale with the Greek lead guitarist Mario Athanasiou.

Comparisons with The Dears, Arcade Fire and Prefab Sprout have been bandied about, and the gorgeous "Western High" is pure Paddy McAloon, but Captain's grasp of dynamics and boy-girl vocals is second to none, as demonstrated in "Frontline", the hypnotic track that first caught the ear of taste-makers extraordinaires Steve Lamacq and Zane Lowe.

They even sneak in a B-side, "Why Wait", and leave out a couple of tracks from This is Hazelville, their majestic debut produced by Trevor Horn, who must have felt right at home after working with both Belle & Sebastian and Propaganda. Flynn is so caught up telling a story about Athanasiou's Trainspotting-style dalliance with a vicar's daughter that he forgets to introduce the bassist Alex Yeoman, but everyone clicks their fingers along with Szembek to "This Heart Keeps Beating for Me".

After "Accidie", the set's closer, Captain perform "Glorious", their soon-to-be signature song, as the encore. Its sonic thrills and frills, sinuous fills and big chorus sound even more infectious live. Captain is Flynn's and the drummer Reuben Humphries' second attempt at the big time. They're well on course.

Touring to 21 August ( www.captaintheband.com)

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