"picking away at your emotions and sending shivers down your spine" (Loosing Today)

What people have already said:

“There’s a slight of hand nature about these three tracks which feature on the debut release from the much talked about Cardiff quintet Leave the Capital in the way they attach with mercurial grace to your sub conscious. Melodically astute there’s no doubting that there’s a rarefied song craft at work here picking away at your emotions and sending shivers down your spine" (Loosing Today)

"Go and see Leave The Capital. Theyll make you swoon and marvel and wonder why you' ve never seen them before." Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1

"...Breathtaking, soul-freeing hooks. These are delivered with an intense world-weariness by either Ben James' sensitive vocal or Chris Collins' soaring, crystal guitar..."  (Drowned In Sound)


ORGAN issue 194 - Live review

THE BLACK VELVETS, LEAVE THE CAPITAL, FARRAH – Camden Barfly, London – 29th January

LEAVE THE CAPITAL are on in the middle and you know well we have their debut single out on our label ORG this very week. you’re pretty much expecting us to tell you they’re the wonderful next coming of everything you ever wanted aren’t you. Well they were rather splendid tonight and the Cardiff five piece are rather special. Last time they came to London things were a little out of focus, it was back in December and they played to a rather less than full Barfly on a cold wet Tuesday night - this time around there a whole new pace and a new found confidence - not a swagger, they’re not a cocky band, it isn’t about attitude with Leave The Capital, more about crafted class and refined restrained understated warmth. There’s a quite a crowd in here in time for their set and there’s clearly a lot of people wanting to find out what’s going on, word is out now, Leave The Capital are band to check out. Now look, I’m seeing a lot of lazy journalism already, even when people are being very positive about the band. Sure there is a touch of Editors and a sense of Elbow about LTC, a hint of Doves, but hey, come on, would they really have their debut release out on ORG if that was all there was to them? Elbow do nothing much for us, neither do those Editors, harmless enough, Doves have always disappointed and if that was all that Leave The Capital had to offer then you can be sure that they would not be coming to you via our label. This is the quintet’s first London show since the radio started to picked up on them, there’s a big cheer when they smoothly work in to Matchsticks (and a big queue of people wanting to buy singles off us afterwards). You see, there’s a genuine need for Leave The Capital and what they do right now – what they do is (unknowingly) take the bold expanse of the current post-rock thing and distill it in the same simple way that bands like 65Daysofstatic or Explosions In The Sky do - of course it’s very different in terms of result, but that is why Leave The Capital’s sound works so well. They take some of the best elements of post rock and focus those elements in to something beautifully accessible, they’re probably the only band out there actually bringing those elements in to the conventions of an uplifting cleverly simple song. There’s always a need for a big epic, for a warm uplifting song, for textures that aren’t obvious, for subtle dimension, for bands willing to honestly fly in the face of current industry requirements. Leave The Capital are not concerned with the current requirements or this week’s marketable style, they’re a band who’s sound is completely natural, this is what they’d be doing whatever else was going on  – Singer Ben James is full of genuine emotional, he’s subtle. Everything about Leave The Capital is done in a subtle way - nothing soppy or schmaltzy, there’s a real rare genuine emotion in there, a pure uplifting emotional whack to the side of your head, they make those other bands - the Elbows and The Doves of this world - seem rather crude and obvious and tonight in deepest Camden Leave The Capital leave us feeling rather good about everything, they really are building ships, tonight they really were special. 
(go here for the rest of the review)


Leave The Capital - Matchsticks - Single Review 

There is a big buzz going around this band that has already been compared with the likes of Elbow and Doves. Yet they are only just about to release their debut Single! A band to get such high compliments is at times on a very sticky wicket. This band is known as Leave At The Capital and come from Cardiff.  The lead singer, Ben James, offers a chilling vocal display & Matchsticks will have the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Leave The Capital give it a bit more than Elbow, in my opinion they seem to have that different edge, the same edge that The Editors hold. Their was certainly a market for bands like this last year the question is have the tides turned or are the public out there waiting for the come back of this dark Indie style? Only the release will tell, but Leave The Capital give the impression that they have what it takes to break into the charts.
(Mark Moore)

CRUD MAGAZINE - Matchsticks review 
Record Label/Org Records
Street Value ****
It's not the overall quality of these 3 tracks that hit you hardest, nor his broad falsetto and its immense reach, though those things do really hit you. The maturity of a band might seem like a strange thing to celebrate when its usually more likely to be used as an excuse ("it's missing the thrill and excitement of their debut, but it does show them in a more mature light..." etc.), but their very success is based in the fact that they seem distilled in life, like they took time to arrive, like they had to, and like it might have been a toilsome trip at points. But that when they got there, there was redemption. Elbow's lungs, Doves' wings and Editors' boots wrapped up in huuuuuge 80s dry-ice production, this is pure class, squared.

SUBBA-CULTCHA - Matchsticks review (Feb single of the month)
Wonderful stuff from the ever dependable Org Records, the last bastions of true music - with the cinematic scope of the Editors minus that nerdish and pitiful self wallowing and the roughly hewn melancholy usually reserved for Doves - the moment the singer cracks into falsetto, you'll find yourself on your knees picking up the pieces. genius! 
(Jeremy Chick, Subba-Cultcha)

ROCK MIDGETS - Matchsticks review
Cardiff's Leave The Capital sure know how to make a first impression. Backed by recent acclaim from the likes of Radio 1's Steve Lamacq, the band's debut single 'Matchsticks' is a beautifully emotional moment on a scale that far befits their years. Combining the subtleties of Elbow with the ambitious aim of Doves, 'Matchsticks' acts as a pleasant introduction to a band that undoubtedly have a lot to offer over the coming years, and with 'Versus' and 'You Can't Kill An Idea' - particularly the former - faring little worse, here's to hoping this Welsh outfit can forge their own furrow, as opposed to simply being another Coldplay.

Rating: 5/5 by Alex Nunn

LOOSING TODAY - 27th JAN 2007 - Matchsticks single review
Leave the Capital ‘Matchsticks’ (Org). There’s a slight of hand nature about these three tracks which feature on the debut release from the much talked about Cardiff quintet Leave the Capital in the way they attach with mercurial grace to your sub conscious. Melodically astute there’s no doubting that there’s a rarefied song craft at work here picking away at your emotions and sending shivers down your spine while scrambling the neural zones. Each of these cuts would provide a mission accomplished high point to most young bands currently treading the inkie column inches careers. ‘Matchsticks’ tunes itself in the early 80’s principally referencing the sky piercing needle like riffmanship of the Edge as found on ‘October’ and craftily moulds it as though laboratory tested by Scots overlords Swimmer One into a tenacious star crossed honey fit for a listening experience by any would be modern space cadet, delicious driving cosmic pop that see saws seductively led from the front by a husky to falsetto in the blink of an eye vocal that sounds the result of a cross DNA match between Peter Gabriel and Billy MacKenzie. The glacially gliding ‘Versus’ is similarly equipped, once the deceptive fraxzled gritty opening passes this gem blossoms into a life affirming honey crusted nugget not unlike a genteel South braided and softly caressed throughout by the gentle saunter of soothing jet streamed jangles that fizz and fire resplendently to a brief combustive crescendo. All said and done though nothing quite touches the shyly nuzzling parting shot ‘You can’t kill an idea (with a gun)’ - emotional draining, this impeccably arranged slice of serenely spectral stately star pop marries together forgotten early Verve b-sides only to replace Ashcroft’s mellowed tones with Robert Wyatt’s day dreaminess with sly traces of that undervalued duo Birdpen – quite perfect if you ask me. Joint deputy single of the Missive. 
Loosing Today

GIGWISE - Matchsticks single review
Cardiff five piece Leave The Capital have crafted a melancholy-rock-fest for sensitive indie boys. In the same sort of category of The Doves or Elbow, Ben James vocal especially reminding of Guy Garvey. The band also mix elements of the post punk indie disco riffery of Blocparty guitar, drums reminiscent of Editors, and an echo effect reminiscent of U2. This single has already been picked up by the likes of Hew Stevens and Steve Lamacq and have supported Kasabian and The Kaiser Chiefs so the band are almost certain to get quite a bit of attention this year.  (

DROWNED IN SOUND - 27th JAN 2007 - Matchsticks single review
This recent winner of Steve Lamacq's Rebel Playlist is a poignant affair. A booming hooter at the start does it no favours, but once relegated to the background a tender touch rushes up to kiss your forehead. Leave The Capital have been promising to make a big impression for a while and this, surprisingly, is their first proper single. What they have always had in abundance, both in this line up and in their former incarnation as Watershed, are breathtaking, soul-freeing hooks. These are delivered with an intense world-weariness by either Ben James' sensitive vocal or Chris Collins' soaring, crystal guitar. The chorus to 'Matchsticks' is right up with their other live standards and strongly demands a supplementary choir of thousands - phone lights optional. The whole event ushers along on a hi-hat stressed Spector-ish beat and reeks of desperate but sweet hope, a nostalgia refusing to be quashed by cold reality.

This Cardiff band are too often referenced along with Doves and Elbow, but the three songs here show them as more than ready to be released from such comparisons. Will we be hearing a lot more from them in 2007? Hopefully.
(Jane Oriol)

BBC.CO.UK WELSH MUSIC PAGES - Matchsticks - Org Records: 29 January 2007

Long-time-coming debut release from Cardiff's Leave The Capital.

Limited to just 1,000 copies, Matchsticks is the debut release from Cardiff-based ones-to-watch Leave The Capital. They've been around for a while, though, in their original incarnation as Watershed and briefly as Versus. A favourite from LTC's live shows, the EP echoes the songwriting ambitions of Elbow or Britproggers Mansun. Chris Collins' chiming guitar sparkles throughout the title track, countered by Ben James' weary, fragile vocals. Elsewhere they're more downbeat, recalling a more contemplative Coldplay or Snow Patrol without the flagrant courting of arena rock. Although they've yet to master the high art of creating addictive earworms, Leave The Capital clearly have ambition, as their name suggests, to take them well beyond the confines of their home town. These three tracks at a bargain price point to better things to come. (Joe Goodden)