1 January 2014

Little Comets - Life Is Elsewhere

It is nice to see a band from your local area doing well for themselves.  The band in point here are Little Comets, who are based between Jarrow and Washington in Tyne & Wear, UK.  I saw these guys supporting the Futureheads in Newcastle around 2010, just before the release of their first album 'In Search Of Elusive Little Comets' which came across as a more laid back version of Vampire Weekend which was really popular at the time.  They just sounded like a splash of summer with their harmony singing, jangling guitars and general ability to make a man smile no matter what his mood might be.  Since then they have parted ways with their original drummer and have been making waves in America with tours over there, as well as flexing their touring muscles over here in the UK as well.  With rumblings of a possible new album coming, I have been returning to this album for the first time since it came out in October 2012.

What I have always found strange about this band is the fact they sound like a ray of sunshine even in the darkest of days.  Honestly, the North East of England whilst being beautiful (and I should know as I live here) can be a cold and bleak place at times.  But these guys just seem to have a great way to make the mood lighter.  Case in point is opening track "A Little Opus" which comes out like 80's period Peter Gabriel,  it has a lovely rhythm which is incredibly infectious and starts the album out perfectly for equally as brilliant and dancing "Tense/Empty".  With these two opening tracks they are showing that their first album was not just a fluke and they are album to follow a brilliant album unlike Vampire Weekend who they share a lot of similarities.  The African feeling of the album continues with "Jennifer" when has a chorus that would have crowds around the world singing in unison and moving like they have ants in their pants (but in a good way).

With their next track "Bayonne" the band slow things down a little bit but do not take the quality down at all.  If anything, they seem more assured with every note that is played on this album.  "Waiting In The Shadows In The Dead Of Night" follows on which brings the dance back with little moments of rest inbetween the fantastic chorus and bridge that make this song a true highlight of the album.  Next is "Violence Out Tonight" that brings the album to heel a bit, a song about violence being played out in the world.  It is a good track, but the album at this point whilst sounding great also sounds slightly same-ie at the same time and at the halfway point you would hope for a little bit of a change in places as well.  I think the band might have sense this slightly, as the next song "The Western Boy" feels more driven and it has a serious tone which was attempted on "Violence Out Tonight" but it seems to work better on this song.  It just has that right mixture of lyrical content and substance.  

They follow this up with "Worry" which is a bit Jekyll and Hyde - equally compelling and annoying in places.  It could have been the track of the album in places but it does not quite mix to be honest.  "Semaphores On The Lawn" brings the album back on course again with a great and simple interplay between the guitar and the background keyboard.  When these guys keep it almost simple it makes for an interesting musical experience and "Semaphores..." is one of the best tracks on the album.  Coming back after this is "W-O-E" which has a little more funk in it compared to the best part of the album which makes it a moment of joy, but without making the rest of the album seem like boring.  After this is the slow and brooding "Woman Woman" which is head and shoulders the best track on the album.  It is a more simple and beautiful song, but if the album was all like this I have a feeling it would have failed, so the band have been clever in making just one song like this which is so strong and powerful it drives out anything else you have in your head.  Believe me; I have had the song stuck in my head for days.  To close the album the band have "In Blue Music We Trust" which goes for a slow and patient build towards an ending that aims to be towering, but doesn't quite make it.  It is a decent number, but after "Woman Woman" it was always going to struggle.  With that said I don't think "Woman Woman" should have ended the album, but it was probably in the wrong place.

So overall the album is very good, a few tracks could have been shaven of it to be honest. As second albums go it is a really focused and polished record, it is a little samey in places but it really great album and I would recommend anyone to give it a look.  They are touring in 2014; hopefully we might get a new album from them as well.  But till then, I can honestly say that you would be hard pushed to find an album that is not as light and fun.  Also check out the acoustic version of "Woman Woman" below, it is just a joy to behold.

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Best track: Woman Woman

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit their website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify

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