Comet Gain "Howl Of The Lonely Crowd" LP (2011)
Details: Rare used near-mint copy of Comet Gain's fantastic 2011 (sixth) full-length "Howl Of The Lonely Crowd" on U.S. label, What's Your Rupture? (on Fortuna Pop in the UK), produced by Edwyn Collins (Orange Juice) and Ryan Jarman (The Cribs).
Description: "UK indie-pop lifers team with Orange Juice's Edwyn Collins, the Cribs' Ryan Jarman, and others for their first new album since 2005. Comet Gain are indie-pop lifers, and not only because they're fast approaching 20 years of existence. The UK band's discography is a finely detailed and uncommonly honest document of lives lived through music, free of schmaltz and coated with lyrical nods to the records they admire most ("You can hide your love forever," goes Comet Gain's heartbreaking response to Orange Juice). "Jack Nance Hair", from 2009 compilation Broken Record Prayers, is a manifesto for people who love music to an almost religious degree: an outsider anthem reflecting scrappy, fallible humanity through a record's imperfections ("Young, free, and single/ Like the crack in the 45") and the comforting indifference of time through the turntable's ceaseless spin.
The group's sound, accordingly, is a shambolic collision between elements of dream pop, mod psychedelia, northern soul, and riot grrrl (guitarist Jon Slade cut his teeth in Huggy Bear). On The Howl of the Lonely Crowd, Comet Gain's first proper album since 2005's City Fallen Leaves, singer/guitarist David Feck and his revolving-door lineup of musicians put a new twist on their incessant dialogue with their favorite artists: They recorded with one. Orange Juice's Edwyn Collins produced much of the album, which means Feck got to live out a fanboy fantasy. The new album also features collaborations with some of Comet Gain's contemporaries, such as Alasdair Maclean of the Clientele, as well as their heirs, including The Cribs' Ryan Jarman and Shrag's Helen King. Jarman and Brian O'Shaughnessy (whose credits go back to Primal Scream) lent additional production.
For the most part, Lonely Crowd finds Comet Gain up to their old tricks: paeans to impressive record collections ("Thee Ecstatic Library"), odes to cult heroes ("Herbert Huncke Pt. 2"), and wistful balladeering ("In a Lonely Place"). The record's first few tracks, in particular, can stand respectably beside the band's strongest material, with jangling standouts like "The Weekend Dreams" and "Clang of the Concrete Swans". Side B gets bogged down by a few too many inert slow songs, but singer Rachel Evans swoops in to save the side with the "Ballad of Frankie Machine", a quintessentially British tribute to the protagonist of This Sporting Life that effectively channels the 1963 film's haunting mood.
Even if Lonely Crowd doesn't quite live up to the bar set by Broken Record Prayers-- which was, after all, a singles collection-- there's still something dependably refreshing about a new Comet Gain record. The band's diehard convictions and carefully wrought lyrics seem even more vital these days, when "indie-pop" often signifies a marketable sound rather than a lifestyle commitment. Comet Gain cling to the vestiges of that lifestyle with a convert's zeal. "Some of us don't want to be saved," Feck sings in one of the album's most memorable lines-- presumably because some of us already have been, as long as the turntable's spinning." - Lindsay Zoladz, Pitchfork
Grade: NM (Cover) / NM (Record)
TRACK LISTING SIDE A:
1. Clang Of The Concrete Swans
2. The Weekend Dreams
3. An Arcade From The Warm Rain That Falls
4. She Had Daydreams
5. Working Circle Explosive!
6. Yoona Baines
7. Herbert Huncke Prt 2
TRACK LISTING SIDE B:
1. After Midnite, After Its All Gone Wrong
2. A Memorial For Nobody That I Know
3. Ballad Of Frankie Machine
4. Some Of Us Don't Want To Be Saved
5. Thee Ecstatic Library
6. In A Lonely Place