It might not quite seem like what a Fantastic sequel should be -- in fact, it seems more like a sequel to its direct predecessor, 2004's Peachtree Road -- but that's hardly a bad thing. Like that album and Songs from the West Coast before it, The Captain & the Kid is a sharp, professional piece of work by sharp professionals conscious of their past and no longer wishing to rest on their laurels, so they're consciously evoking their best work without quite recycling it. They might not hit their mark directly, but they get close enough -- it may be a little self-conscious and the production is a shade too clean, but the performances are warm and intimate, so this music feels right even if it doesn't necessarily feel exactly like Elton's '70s heyday.
In 1975, one in every 50 albums sold worldwide was by Elton John. That year's Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy made myths out of John's scuffling years with his lyricist Bernie Taupin. Resuming the tale from 1970, when Elton shot to overnight stardom in America, this sequel dramatises their partnership in 10 musical vignettes. It's a confident return to vintage form, but much of Elton's mid-1970s success sprang less from great songs than from the heartwarming likability of the man himself - the boy next door made good.