Release Date: Oct 25, 2011
Record label: What's Your Rupture?
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
After almost 20 years of being a band, you might expect Comet Gain to sound tired or even played out on Howl of the Lonely Crowd, their sixth full-length. You’d be wrong. The band, and especially David Feck, the one constant member from the start, still operate with fire in their eyes and a burning passion in their souls. To that end, Howl sounds like it could have been recorded and released by the band long ago.
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.
Pretension in pop music is a difficult pill to swallow, no matter how sweet the corresponding sound. Perhaps this is why someone like Lady Gaga comes hard and heavy with the pretension in interviews and (to an extent) music videos, but doles out the pretension sparingly, if at all, in her songs. British indie-poppers Comet Gain, however, do not know how to control their pretentious urges.
Comet Gain has always eluded recognition. Despite almost twenty years of crossing aggressively, fuzzed-out punk with a raw infectious UK pop and a book-bag of poetic twee, the London outfit is still often left out of conversations over a pint on seminal UK indie-rock. There’s no real explanation for being underrated. A little too British, too earnest, too many laments of quarter-life directionless are some of the filed complaints.
Despite a high volume of roster changes over its near-two-decade existence, Comet Gain thrives on its consistency. David Feck and his revolving crew of musicians have been turning out single-oriented indie pop since the early ’90s, and many of the songs on Howl of the Lonely Crowd, Comet Gain’s sixth album and first studio record proper since 2005, would be at home plugged in at any place throughout the band’s career. At what point, though, does consistency turn into stagnation? Feck and company are tiptoeing gingerly closer to that precipice.