Song of the day – 317: Comet Gain (a mini-review)
There’s a new Comet Gain album coming out on Fortuna Pop!*
It’s called Howl Of The Lonely Crowd, produced by Edywn Collins and Ryan Jarman among others, and to me it’s everything great about this deliberately tormented London group: antagonistic, romantic, nostalgic, melodic. More broken songs of hope and self-belief played on broken record players. Not sure why, but it reminds me of Jeremy Gluck a little, and David Feck … wait, you have read me on David Feck before, correct? Luddite, but not meant to be an insult. They still sing about arcades and the Weekend like they’re realities not signifiers. Been around so long they’re a major influence on the schoolyard heartache scene, indeed it feels like they were contemporaries of Huggy Bear (they weren’t, but close soul mates, and lo!, there’s my old house-mate sitting front right in the photo above). Still in love with 60s Velvets and 80s Pastels and pals. ‘Herbert Huncke Prt 2’ is their ‘Baby Honey’; ‘After Midnite, After It’s All Gone Wrong’ is wonderfully, achingly, pure Nikki Sudden territory – with a killer refrain.
‘Some Of Us Don’t Want To Be Saved’, meanwhile, is one of their brilliantly bruised literate doomed anthems, sardonic and a little spiteful and inspiring. Some of us still burn, indeed.
Here’s a video to one of my favourite Comet Gain songs, ‘Strength’. I was going to write, “It’s like a failed Dexys Midnight Runners and you should all take that as a compliment” but really it’s not failed anything. It’s just that ‘failure’, as a concept, seems to be an underlying theme of most Comet Gain songs, same as it is with Television Personalities and Daniel Johnston, unless I’m reading them entirely wrong … which I could be. There’s always been a swagger in their soul-searching. Plus, there’s a strong Nation Of Ulysses element to their music, and that lot were about nothing if not about success. Really, it’s just a stonking great pop song, filtered through a Dexys and a Dan Treacy prism and coming out sounding totally glorious. One of my favourites of whatever decade it appeared within.
And Comet Gain still have the ability to pick contentious (some might say ‘unworthy’) tour-mates. Although, as a large part of Comet Gain’s charm/appeal has been their adherence to certain fashions – as is the case with most great POP music – it really shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone.
*15 May (UK), as I’m being a total vacuous media slut here. And it’s their seventh (it says here).