albums - july 2014
It must have always been greatly frustrating being a member of Comet Gain. Defiantly indie in outlook and temprament, self consciously literary, occasionally political and today. some two decades after their very first release (1994s 'Holloway Darlings EP), Comet Gain continue to yearn for moments of indiepop perfection and their 7th album is perhaps as near as they will get to achieving those. Which, as this is Comet Gain we're talking about, you may take to mean that 'Paperback Ghosts' is a very very good album indeed. All those years in the recording studio alongside The Cribs, Edwyn Collins, Kathleen Hanna, all those Peel sessions and late nights spent listening to Francoise Hardy and Scott Walker, they weren't a total waste of time after all.
I wish they weren't quite so shy though. Proper bands have websites
and Facebook pages nowadays, and while I accept that functioning without
those can add much to a bands own concept of mystery and (whisper
it) elitism, it won't sell a lot of records and I'm a bit cross with
you, Comet Gain, you record a really quite lovely and evocative album
like 'Paperback Ghosts' and then you sort of run away and hide from
it. I might suggest an alternate sleeve design - instead of a lone
hipster strolling through an autumnal park, what about a big pile
of leaves with Comet Gain hiding underneath it? I hope that enough
people hear 'Paperback Ghosts' to really appreciate it.
Every review of 'Infinity' that I have read has mentioned somewhere that French composer and multi instrumentalist Yann Tiersen wrote the soundtrack to the film 'Amelie', and this one is no exception. Some of you would definitely like the album if you didn't know that though, its mixture of ambient soundscaping and post-rock would sit very comfortably beside Mogwai in your music files - and one or two of them possibly appear on the album, alongside Icelandic musicians and some of Tiersen's other French associates, all of them going out of their way to make about as good an ambient post-rock album as they can. Drawing a comparison with Sigur Ros isn't quite enough, there is a lot going on here and 'Infinity' sounds genuinely epic in its scope and sometimes bewilderingly eccentric as Tiersen and friends make a lot of unpredictable noises.
I first heard 'Infinity' a couple of months ago and listening to
it again I've decided that it is at very least the most interesting
album I've heard for while, partly down to the fact that it always
contains something I haven't quite heard before whenever I listen
again, and also partly down to the fact that it is the work of the
person that wrote the Amelie soundtrack, plus a lot of Icelandic musicians
and one or two members of Mogwai and a few other uncredited people
and it isn't rubbish. Yann Tiersen also enjoys the occasional bike
ride and if you look up his website he has made a series of videos
of his recent cycling expeditions around Brittany. There's just no
end to some people's talents.