As you relax into the early tracks of the new record from Comet Gain, Paperback Ghosts, one of the last things you might associate the group with is the early nineties “riot grrrl” scene and some of the purest punk that went with it. For those unfamiliar with the roots of this unclassifiable band the association will certainly come as a surprise, particularly with the indie musings and intricate song writing on new songs like ‘Sad Love and Other Short Stories’ and ‘Wait ‘Til December’.
The band have gone through an almost complete overhaul since those early days with only front man David Feck remaining from the original line up that was disbanded in 1997, with it coming a gradual change in direction to the heartfelt and poetic topics of Paperback Ghosts. But dig deeper into this seventh offering from the London outfit and there’s still one or two glimpses of that old swagger.
‘(All The) Avenue Girls’, ‘Breaking Open The Head Part 1’ and closing track ‘Confessions of a Daydream’ will appeal to those fans that have been with the band from the start with garage-influenced beats surrounding the blending vocals of Feck and Rachael Evans.
It’s a key strength of the lead vocalists that they work throughout this album and through the different genres that come to the fore. They give credence to tales of love, loss and walks around their home town with ‘Long After Tonight’s Candles Are Burnt’ a contemplative folk-pop story with a Bright Eyes feel and ‘Far From The Pavilion’ a tap along anthem. As a whole there’s no way to define Paperback Ghosts but therein lies the beauty of Comet Gain.
Their words and melodies have the power to speak to so many and even if none of the songs resonate now there’s almost a guarantee that at least a handful will bring back personal memories of heartache and anguish and of overcoming it all. This is one of the most rounded and unpredictably brilliant records of 2014 so far.
Words: Danny Brothers