Comet Gain can boast of a 20 year span of writing and recording, and with Paperback Ghosts, seven albums of expertly-crafted guitar pop. No slaves to genre, frontman David Feck and his collaborators trod the paths of folk rock, garage and even country as required by the song. What is constant, however, is Comet Gain's ability to deliver a song in an efficient and emotionally affecting manner. What makes a band so good, so damn vital, over two decades of production? You can make your own guess, but I think that, in addition to the obviously necessary musical talent, it is a commitment to vulnerability and emotional sincerity, and an innate feeling for poetic expression. The songs have love, rejection, regret, anger, and melancholy. There is no trepidation about examining wounds and facing travails, but no excess weeping or self-pity either. And the lyrical presentation is simple, but powerful. If I were to tag this band with a philosophy, I'd call them 'romantic realists'.
Paperback Ghosts consists of twelve tracks, with a balance that shifts more to autumnal mid-tempo than ramshackle rockers with which long-time fans of the band are familiar. But for all the reasons noted above, the pace of the album feels perfect, and tracks such as "Breaking Open The Head Part I" and "(All the) Avenue Girls" show that Comet Gain can easily still ramp up to roof-raising performances.
In an album of fine songs, I've chosen three, "Sad Love And Other Short Stories", and "(All the) Avenue Girls" (which was previously released as part of the fine wiaiwya-7777777 singles club), and album opener, "Long After Tonight's Candles Are Blown". Paperback Ghosts manages to tug on your heartstrings, make you smile and affirm life, and that combination is a winner for me.
Comet Gain are David Feck (vocals/guitar), Ben Phillipson (guitar), Rachel Evans (vocals), Woodie Taylor (percussion), Anne Laure Guillain (keys), and James Hornsey (bass).
Paperback Ghosts is available now from Fortuna POP! on vinyl with digital download and CD.