Comet Gain, Howl of the Lonely Crowd
The twee-pop intelligentsia rally round the faithful
The venerable Comet Gain are the intelligentsia of English twee-pop. While mainstream success eludes them, frontman David Feck’s ability to speak for the sorts of neglected and lost souls who have always latched onto the underground scene has won them a devout hipster following. Feck’s scrappy, abstract lyrics, inflected by the rhythms of beat poetry, create eloquent and intricate portraits of life, death and everything in between. In “Clang Of Concrete Swans” he declares, “Psychic warfare/Weakens the weird/These wayward swans can’t get out of here”, artfully implying the loss of innocence in Britain’s youth.
The record’s sound alternates abrasive, clanging rock with Sarah Records-esque guitar chimes. “An Arcade From The Warm Rain That Falls”, an homage to William Burroughs, blends both worlds, a screeching violin staccato mingling with the Field Mice jangle of the guitars and Feck’s warm, optimistic lyrics. Harsher tracks like “Herbert Huncke” address the dark underbelly of urban life with a jostling Lou Reed strut and a Mark E. Smith grunt. In “A Memorial for Nobody I Know,” one of his archetypal spoken-word tracks, Feck anguishes over lost dreams; the short-but-bittersweet elegy, scored with understated dialogue between the piano and guitar reminds us that however intellectual this indie band gets, their hearts are never far below the surface; on “Some Of Us Don’t Want To Be Saved,” Feck declares “All I want’s the impossible, the invisible, the sweet mythical” — a rallying cry for hipsters everywhere.