For years I felt like my adoration for Comet Gain was unjustified, as very few, if any, of my friends had even listened to the band. But, with the release of Broken Record Prayers, their singles collection, the group slowly seemed to gain ground with the masses; I say rightfully so. Now, we welcome the newest recording, Howl of the Lonely Crowd, which appears to have a two-sided story–one filled with jangling pop of the usual sort, the other slowing it down just to spread some introspection.
As a new listener, you can easily breeze right into the opening three tracks of the record, fueled with the usual bit of jangling pop and David Feck poetry. Depending upon where your allegiance lays, you’re either going to adore opener “Clang of the Concrete Swans,” or its successor “The Weekend Dreams.” Personally, I’m going with the former, as I love Feck’s affecting vocals, not to mention the stuttering guitar/vocals just before the 2.5 minute mark. However, Rachel Evans has a sweet melody behind her occasionally raspy vocals, so “The Weekend Dreams,” will definitely get your attention. What’s interesting in both tracks, and many that follow, is the production quality, which still sounds busy, but so much more clear than previous works, allowing the true spirt of the band to prevail.
Of course, Howl of the Lonely Crowd has that bit of forlorn love to it; it’s the kind of thing David Feck seems to have perfected. It’s first appearance via slow jam comes in on “She Had Daydreams.” For me, it’s the storytelling and the lightly brushed female vocal accompaniment that allows this track to excel, giving Comet Gain a new dimension they haven’t delved into thus far in their career–not much anyways. “Some of Us Don’t Want to Be Saved” is another such number, but Feck takes more of a spoken word for this track, allowing the guitar playing, which is lighter than usual. The fact that such a song can win you over without ever really taking the typical approach this group has displayed speaks loudly to their fans, and hopefully to newcomers as well.
You’ll find that listening to all of Howl of the Lonely Crowd might paint two different pictures. You’ve got the pure pop moments of the opening tracks, not to mention the power-pop of a song like “Working Circle Explosive” (reminds me of CG circa Realistes), and then you’ve got these somber closers on the latter half of the record. Knowing Comet Gain, as I think I do, you’ll have to realize they don’t take the typical approach to songwriting, especially when it comes to album construction. For all I know, Feck and friends could have jammed out and recorded the first half, which is likely since songs featuring Herbert Huncke have been floating around for some time, then gone back and recorded the second half at a later date. But, none of it really matters in the end, as no one’s going to write a better indie pop record than this group. The more you listen to the lyrics, the more they suck you in, and the more you fall in love–which is how it should be with your favorite bands.
Download: Comet Gain – An Arcade From The Warm Rain That Falls [MP3]
You can grab this from What’s Your Rupture now!