Comet Gain
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Casino Classics , 6/10
Sneaky , 6/10
Tigertow Pictures , 6.5/10
Realistes , 6/10
City Fallen Leaves (2005), 6/10
Howl Of The Lonely Crowd (2011) , 5/10

Comet Gain are an English quintet, formed in 1993 in Oxford and led by singer and guitarist David "Christian" Bower and co-singer Sarah Bleach. They debuted with a string of singles in the manner of the rising "new mod" scene but with a punkier, spunkier spirit.

Nevertheless, Casino Classics (Wiiija, 1995) inherits the hooks from the naive-pop tradition of Pastels, Heavenly and Primitives. The bouncy and catchy refrains of A Million And Nine, Stay With me Til Morning and A Kind Of Loving hark all the way back to Petula Clark, even though some of the songs betray their quasi-punk affiliations.

The EP Gettin' Ready flows in the same direction, whereas the more political statements of the EP Say Yes! To International Socialism (Wiiija, 1996) served a curious blend of Jam, Buzzcocks and Fall.

Sneaky (Wiiija, 1997) steered towards a noble, eccentric and truly British form of silly pop, as exemplified by opening track Strength.

Tigertow Pictures (Kill Rock Stars, 1999), with Rachel Evans replacing Sarah Bleach, is possibly their most accomplished album. Record Collection's guitar barrage and vocal hysteria echo the humble but piercing garage-rock of the Sixties (Pacific Coast version, rather than the smoother, polished British version) and Skinny Wolves pushes the limit of loudly dissonant guitar riffs. Hate Soul borrows the pace of a Katrina And The Waves hit and Deficient Love steals the choir from the Supremes. Bower's roots are certainly in the Sixties.
It is not the rage, and even less the nostalgia, that makes Bower distinctive and often unique, it is the naif folly of several songs: deranged novelties such as Radar, which is enveloped in burping synthesizer lines and propelled by a driving rhythm, a bizarre cross between Pere Ubu and Captain Beefheart,
One of their tour de force, Jack Mange Rising is a complex melodrama, with the two singers exchanging the leader role, him reciting in a tragic tone and she singing childishly in a chirping Dustin Springfield register, while the guitars and the organ embellish the harmony with Byrds-style jingle jangle and assorted noises. Another long song, Dreaming Of Tigertown, could be the nostalgic hymn of a Bruce Springsteen if guitars and synthesizer didn't wander in psychedelic space.
The album is crowned by a few melancholy ballads which exhibit the same sense of existential disorientation, notably Transmission Lost, which begins like one of Syd Barrett's guitar-only surreal meditations and soars on a nursery school refrain, and concluding The Final Anesthetic, which sounds like a suicide note from a lunatic.
Bower's music has room to grow, but it is already a fiery testament of a profoundly personal art.

(Traduzione di Cinzia Russi/ Translated by Cinzia Russi)

Il debutto di Comet Gain, un quintetto londinese nato nel 1993 con a capo il chitarrista David "Christian" Bower e la co-cantante Sarah Bleach, e’ contrassegnato da una serie di singoli in stile "new mod" ma dallo spirito piu’ punk e spunk.

Casino Classics (Wiiija 1995) e l'EP Getting’ Ready, seguiti dal piu’ politicizzato Say Yes! To International Socialism (Wiiija 1996), passano praticamente inosservati nel mezzo della moda Brit-pop, sebbene propongano un curioso miscuglio di Jam, Buzzcocks e Fall.

Sneaky (Wiiija 1997) si dirige verso una nobile, eccentrica e autenticamente brittannica forma di silly pop di cui il brano iniziale, Strength e’ una perfetta esemplificazione.

Tigertow Pictures (kill Rock Stars 1999) e’ probabilmente il loro album meglio riuscito. Il barrage di chitarra e l’isteria vocale di Record Collection riecheggiano il dimesso ma penetrante garage rock degli anni ’60 (nella sua versione americana piuttosto che in quella britannica, piu’ lucida e levigata) mentre Skinny Wolves spinge al limite i riff di chitarra forti e dissonanti. Hate Soul prende in prestito ilritmo di un brano di successo di Katrina And The Waves e Deficient Love ruba il coro dai Supreme. Le radici di Bower sono decisamente negli anni ’60.
A rendere Bower particolare e spesso persino unico non sono ne’ la rabbia ne’ tantomeno la nostalgia, quanto piuttosto la follia naive di diverse canzoni; novita’ squilibrate comeRadar, avvolta in eruttanti lines di sintetizzatore e propulsa da un ritmo cadenzato, incrocio bizzarro tra Pere Ubu e Captain Beefheart,
Jack Mange Rising, uno dei tour de force del gruppo, e’ un complesso melodrama con i due cantanti che si scambiano di ruolo, lui per recitare in tono tragico e lei per cantare in un registro infantile e cinguettante alla Dustin Springfield, mentre organo e chitarre completano l’armonia con un jingle jangle stile Byrds e un assortimento di rumori. Dreaming Of Tigertown, un’altra canzone lunga potrebbe passare per un inno nostalgico alla Bruce Springsteen se chitarre e sintetizzatore non si perdessero in un girovagare psichedelico.
L’album e’ coronato da alcune ballate melanconiche che fanno mostra dello stesso disorientamento esistenziale, in particolare Transmission Lost che inizia come una delle meditazioni surreali di sola chitarra di Syd Barret e poi si libra in volo su un ritornello da scuola maternal, e, per finire, The Final Anesthetic che suona come la nota d’addio di un lunatico suicida.
La musica di Bower ha ancora spazio per crescere ma e’ gia’ il testamento impetuoso di un’arte profondamente personale.

Realistes (Kill Rock Stars, 2002), with a new drummer and the addition of keyboardist Jon Slade, sounds a little too derivative, almost a tribute to the civilization of mods, garage-punks and psychedelic rock of the mid 1960s, a feast of Farfisa organs and fuzzed-out guitars, defiant sneers and singalong choruses. Besides stealing the riff from the Who's I Can't Explain for the anthemic My Defiance, indulging in the concentrate of garage stereotypes of Realistes and soaring with the spaced-out, Jefferson Airplane-ish Carry On Living, the Comet Gain intone several odes to Byrds-ian jingle-jangle, notably The Kids At The Club, enhanced with pounding, T.Rex-ian drums and acid organ, and the catchy and sprightly She Never Understood. The Velvet Underground-ian boogie bacchanal Ripped-Up Suit comes out of nowhere, but easily steals the show.

City Fallen Leaves (Kill Rock Stars, 2005) benefits from a much crisper production. David Feck is at the peak of his songwriting skills, more serious and poignant than ever (Days I Forgot to Wrote Down, Draw a Smile Upon an Egg). But the real highlight of the album is the existential fury of Daydream Scars and The Ballad of a Mixtape, that soars above the cliches of rock music to invade the private space inhabited only by ghosts.

Broken Record Prayers (2009) was a career retrospective including Jack Nance Hair"

Howl Of The Lonely Crowd (What's Your Rupture, 2011) should have been a single: The Weekend Dreams and Clang of the Concrete Swans are decent power-pop ditties, but then Feck goes romantic with An Arcade from the Warm Rain Falls, the lengthy After Midnight It's All Gone Wrong and She Had Daydreams (to mention the best ones) and the whole proceeding becomes quickly unbearable.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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