The album, to be released by Make Believe Recordings this fall, comes on the heels of Trite Monsters, a self-released collection of songs made available last August. The 18 tracks hail from six years of Martin’s writing songs that never made it into Capgun Coup’s repertoire.
On “Bye Bye,” Martin gives less to the sardonic and detached attitude that populates much of Capgun Coup’s work and stage presence. Lyrically, he sings the farewells bred by progress. “Bye bye,” he sings to a former life and “hello” to the new before the chorus rings a gravelly “Why are you scared? What does it do?”
It’s the song of a narrator with a renewed self-confidence. A friend hasn’t seen him lately because he hasn’t been drinking as much, which is ostensibly good for the narrator.
The video, directed by Harrison Martin, who has also directed for UUVVWWZ, places Sam in a cheaply-made surreality — he’s fully clothed in a bubble bath, he gestures with a power drill like it’s part of his identity. In one scene he stands next to a spoon made to look like it’s floating by visible string.
There’s a refreshing lack of self-seriousness.
Musically, “Bye Bye” isn’t the intentionally sloppy garage rock of Capgun Coup or even the lo-fi spook folk basement recordings of Trite Monsters, much of which veers closer to Simon Joyner‘s meandering melodies than any other Nebraska songwriter.
It’s a carefully produced song, riding a delicate ukulele riff and a lightly bouncing rhythm section to a gentle conclusion. In fact, the only holdovers from Martin’s work with Capgun Coup might be his droning voice, though here it sounds much less purposefully unconcerned, and his taste for spinning quickfire verses and couplets.
While 15 tracks from A Notion in an Ocean have yet to be heard, “Bye Bye” at least seems like a careful, yet bold step toward a more earnest approach than what Martin found with Capgun Coup.
“Why fly home? There’s nothing there but this song,” Martin wonders on the track, a final reflection on what’s being left behind.
Jacob Zlomke is Hear Nebraska’s staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com.