Comet Gain - Howl of the Lonely Crowd - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Comet Gain - Howl of the Lonely Crowd

by Andy Brown Rating:9.5 Release Date:2011-05-23

Comet Gain have been going since the early 90s and, despite having released a plethora of incredible albums, have managed to remain somewhat under the radar. Led by vocalist and main songwriter David Feck the Gain make a racket that takes on 80s indie, The Go-Betweens, northern soul, Dexys Midnight Runners, The Television Personalities and The Jam as influences. Their last LP, Broken Record Prayers (2008), was a superior collection of b-sides and rarities. Their last LP of new material was the career defining City Fallen Leaves (2005). This long awaited new album is released through the reliably fantastic Fortuna Pop! A suitable home for these romantically inclined, indie-soul rebels. Among others, this record finds Ryan Jarman of The Cribs and the irrepressible Edwyn Collins sharing production duties.

The album opens with the urgent 'Clang of the Concrete Swans', with Feck singing cryptically about the "death factory blues" and "brittle concrete swans" while the band rattle and strum through just over five glorious minutes. The euphoric, 60s tinged 'The Weekend Dreams' sees co-vocalist Rachel Evans take the lead. It's a great track and finds the Gain in an indie-dance-floor filling mood, complete with a wonderfully unkempt guitar solo. The hazy 'She Had Daydreams' finds Feck on poetic form as he croons, "Beautiful won't save your life and beautiful will make you cry, beautiful will only try to drag you down". Before you get too relaxed, they turn up the volume and the distortion on the wonderful punk-psychedilia/Swell Maps racket of 'Working Circle Explosive!' With Howl of the Lonely Crowd, Comet Gain have balanced their doe-eyed indie leanings, urgent quasi-punk tunes and lo-fi racket perfectly.

'Herbert Huncke Pt 2' is Fecks Velvets influenced tribute to said beat generation poet as he defiantly sings, "I never got my wasted years back, I never cried no wasted tears, jack". It's a song that exemplifies the Comet Gain spirit; defiance in the face of adversity. 'A Memorial for Nobody I Know' is a semi-spoken "epitaph for things we always lose", a brief but elegantly beautiful composition. The Evans sung 'Ballad of Frankie Machine' balances noise and tenderness perfectly as she sings, "All we give is our wounded, bleeding hands". 'Some of Us Don't Want to Be Saved' is classic Comet Gain with its sub-acoustic grace and poetic contemplation. Feck sings of "the atheist's glimpse of heaven" before reassuring us in 'Thee Ecstatic Library' as he sings, "Music will save you again and again". In a way that's always been Comet Gains philosophy.

Howl of the Lonely Crowd sees Comet Gain return to the fold like they've never been away; a definitely confident and self-assured LP. The Gain are one of the finest indie bands in the country and Howl of the Lonely Crowd only serves to cement this reputation. It's a delicately beautiful, supremely angry and unmistakably British affair. It's difficult to say if it quite reaches the dizzy heights of 2002 album Realistes or City Fallen Leaves but it remains an utterly thrillingly listen. Comet Gain aren't necessarily expecting an over-abundance of praise any time soon though; as they sing on 'Herbert Huncke pt 2': "You motherfucker, where is my bread? You'll get it off my eyes when I'm dead". Let their howling hearts be heard…

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