"euridice proudhon is the real gem here-- a collection of smart, sharp, and emotionally resonant indie pop songs. rating: 8.2"
--matt lemay, pitchfork
"those who like to leap to conclusions should have a field day with the capstan shafts. see if you can see where this is heading. twenty-two songs all under two minutes long, many under a minute. song titles so obscure you need a dictionary to decipher them ("carbon neutral enterprise," "61 sideburns," "good riddance, euridice," just to name some classics). a frontman with a tendency to lapse into a near british accent. okay, guided by voices junior, right? well, kind of, but nothing like that at all. sure, dean wells, the one man in this one-man band, shares much with GBV, but what sets him apart is the clarity of his vision. his songs aren't half-finished sounding; they are pinpoint sharp and tightly constructed indie pop nuggets. the melodies are pure and true; the sound of the record is, too, with brightly strummed acoustic guitars, clanking electrics, sometimes shaky (but always there when you need them) drums, and the occasional tambourine combining with wells' note-perfect vocals (complete with double-tracked sunshiny harmonies) to make bedroom magic. though they flit across the screen like butterflies, each song makes an impression thanks to wells' knack for intriguing lyrics and his sharp melodic gift. when the record ends, you might just leave it in for another spin; it's that good. at the very least you'll want to hear "sleepcure theory advancer" again. if the capstan shafts had been around in the early '90s singing this amazingly hooky song about lab coats and angel wings (you can almost picture the video), they might be a band with movies and books celebrating their career. stay tuned in about 15 years, see if it happens. you never know."
--tim sendra, all music guide
"do songs pop into dean wells' head like thoughts? it certainly seems so, considering how often he releases new capstan shafts recordings. it seems like there's one every time i turn around, which is great because they're all fantastic. each is filled with catchy, jangly pop-rock songs, played loosely, loaded with great melodies and harmonies, the lyrics making each one seem like a cross between a puzzle, a joke, a love letter, a surrealist poem, and a pick-up line. his new album euridice proudhon - giving GBV a run for their money with 22 songs in a total of 24 minutes – is in the vein of other recent capstan shafts cds, meaning it has a cleaner sound and the melodies are more in the forefront. it's mostly wells' ragged, aching voice and guitar, plus some rough drums, rambling through brilliant little tunes which in another form could be big rock n' roll rave-ups and overblown country-rock ballads but here are simple, humble, intimate. they often seem like they capture the song in its simplest form, just what you need, plus the immediacy of a good, raw performance. the songs' fleetingness doesn't limit their specialness, and might accentuate it. they tell stories in under a minute, incomplete but better for it. with recurring images and descriptions (of a "moonchild," for one) euridice also seems to tell one bigger story, albeit in a rough, vague sort of way. perhaps it's a new telling of the eurydice and orpheus myth: a drunk rural vermonter's version of it, a version that includes anarchists, one-night-stands, and a visit to a shoe store. in any case, these short stories are full of intrigue, romance ("darling see your eyes are changing colors with the dawn"), sadness, and ideas. lyrics like "we lived in the last genuine time" and "most cultures were wrong" suggest some sort of larger cultural analysis going on, but like everything with the capstan shafts it's more riddle than theory, evoking and vanishing, leaving a tangible sense of enchantment in the air."
--dave heaton, erasing clouds
"we don't know a lot about this band (the cd came alone in an envelope with no accompanying information)...but we do know one thing. when the music is this good, who needs facts and explanations...? on the confusingly titled euridice proudhon, the music speaks for itself. dean wells (the man behind the capstan shafts) is an apparently rather prolific fellow whose music is reminiscent of robert pollard. this album features twenty-two unusual lo fi pop tunes that are intelligent and seemingly influenced by british bands of the past few decades. dean's voice is focused and credible...and his lyrics are light years beyond what we are accustomed to hearing. destined to be a cult classic, euridice proudhon is a cool and intriguing spin. includes "everyone plants trees," "magical dance number scene," "aching tiny everywheres" (great song title there), "hip/misguided" and more... (rating: 5)"
"dean wells - you visit again. i must return to my initial impression when i receive your works, and that is the view i was presented upon viewing the documentary on a mysterious man called jandek. in this feature, there was a writer who mentioned opening his mailbox every other month to anywhere between 1 - 4 new albums. right about now, you are certainly on that corwood / pollard schedule - and i can take it.. . so don't change a goddamn'd thing.
"euridice proudhon" finds you presenting us with 22 new crafts, all in easily digestible capstan fashion. whether it's dean, his guitar and a small choral section of "digital dean(s)" - or the crafty percussion / hand slaps that pattern tracks like "61 sideburns" - you are going to listen to the capstan shafts and you are going to enjoy your time while doing so. do make a note to hear the guitar "solo" (solo? tcs is a one man expedition, right? this could get scientific..) that streaks through "most cultures were wrong" - it is rock. choice lyrics from euridice: "i'm sure that you will do what's right now / it's true i only want what's best / so long as there's a breast in my mouth."