24 February 2015

Little Comets - Hope Is Just A State Of Mind

It is uplifting to see bands trying to make it in the world on their own terms - sites like pledge music show bands asking their fans for the funds upfront and when they have reached their target the funds are took and in return, the band will forefill the pledge and give other extras for more funds (such as signed albums, name in credits, house parties, etc).  Sadly due to funds and other complications, I missed out on funding the pledge for this album by North East England indie troupe Little Comets.  I really wanted to get the pledge where you got the albums and the three EP's that were released before the album came out, sadly it was not to be.  Anyway, I also promised myself I would look at the album as soon as I could and with it now being released, I can finally listen to it.  Now I have reviewed Little Comets before and their last album 'Life Is Elsewhere' (cleverly linked here), so I will not be going through a history lesson this time.  It has been three years since their last album, things have obviously changed over that time (such as the band going out on their own for this record), let’s see how they have fared on this album....

“My Boy William” is the first song on the album, I get the feeling that one of the band has recently became a father and is sharing his experiences of parenthood.  With the sound samples of a small child in the background, it does give that impression of a message being given to someone in the future; advice on not losing their innocence and still being able to dream.  It is a very noble sentiment and one that I am sure parents will (hopefully) feel for all of the progeny; it is a decent tune as well, giving this album a very grounded opening, levelled headed opening rooted in the pleasures of home.  “B&B” is the second song of the album, it about being kicked out of the family house when young (possibly in the 80’s as it mentions ship building which has not been on the river Wear for years & Morrissey is mentioned too).  It is a great tune to a very potent set of lyrics, a contrast to the opening song which shows this is not going to be a record with one facet.  “The Gift Of Sound” is an another song from these Mackems which brings to mind a mixture of African sounds, the new indie Vampire Weekend number that was their first calling sound; but with a much more mature and focused vibe.  This does not feel like a step backwards at all, just something that they wanted to release to the world.  The song itself is moving, it might not be as instant as the opening tracks (using the word fizzle was not the best idea, I burst out laughing at first – nice try G’s); but overall it is a song (for me at least) which talks about all forms of sound & music, so they have every right to make it sound like it does.  This is very close to being one of their best songs and so far it is turning out to be a very strong opening to this record.  Track four is called “Formula” is aimed squarely at their critics for their sound – that is plan to see and I love it; honestly as a song to deliver what you feel about the cynical criticism of people who write about what you have done (and I do see the irony of that last part as I write it) is something that bands have done for years (see “Get In The Ring” by Guns ‘N’ Roses on how not to do it), however this shows how to do it with style and a huge hint of scarcasm.  This is a great way to do it, it is clever and shows that the band can stand up for themselves as much as they want.

“Little Italy” bring the album to more familiar territory, starting off with a quiet building guitar opening then lyrics that soother the soul and have hidden meaning.  It is very gentle on the ears and soul to be absolutely honest, you would find more danger in an episode of the Archers, but musically it is also not that far away from their musical roots.  It drifts by and takes a few spins to sink in, not the most immediate of number but I feel that may be by design.  “Daily Grind” is the sixth number of the album, an ode to the woes of the modern world, its trials and tribulations that face a single mother in the choice of work or family.  As I stated earlier, I have a feeling someone in the album may have just achieved parenthood and is coming to terms with it (or they know someone in these situations).  It is a well-played number that bring to focus on that aspect of the experience of life, the music is very quiet and sombre for the most part and treats it subject matter with dignity.  This is followed by a song called “Salt”; this was released as part of an EP last year, back then (for me at least) it seemed to be a step up from the Little Comets and this has not really changed in the months that have past.  It is still one of their best tracks of this album and that the band have produced.  The task of following such a number is never an easy one, in this case it falls to the track “Effetism”; it is a jolly sounding track, but the lyrical black laced barbs of loneliness, despair and depression are in stark contrast to the musical background.  This is such a powerful and emotive number that it actually places “Salt” in the shadow – it is that good.

“Wherewithal” is the ninth number on this album, it is a much louder number than most of what has previously been played on this album and it is needed at this point.  It is still emotionally provoking – the lack of trust with another person, the loss of freedom and emotional slavery on display is still strong on this number; it is really good number that keeps up the good work that has been the calling card of this album so far.  “Fundamental Little Things” is the next number that once again follows a similar path to “Wherewithal”, it is another number that is not a slow ballad/piano focused number, the drums seem to be louder and the vocals are delivered with a bit more of a bite to be honest.  Overall, it is a very strong number at this stage of the album.  Penultimate track “Don’t Fool Yourself” feels like it has been to the disco with that riff – I would say that it was a happy number, but this being the Little Comets there is hidden meanings (or blatant lines) in the lyrics.  It is a great song which could have easily been the ending point of the album – it is a storming number that will have their audience in raptor during their shows.  However, it is not the ending song; no that falls to the wonderfully titled “The Blur, the Lines & the Thickest of Onions”.  It is another of those songs which strips a lot back from the sound, but let’s things drifts back in for effect.  There is a section where lead vocalist is just singing by himself, a part where he is lacing a vocal delivery over some brilliant guitar feedback and playing, the drums come every now and then to the listener, sounds hit from ear to ear and there is a sense that the band is not finished at this point; you get the feeling that they are heading towards the horizon and getting ready for their next record.

When all is settled on this album, it is a very well crafted record and worthy of the praise which has been laid at its feet.  As I write this number, it has entered the top 40 in the UK, which for a small label band is quite an achievement; they have obviously made this with love in their heart and a passion for the music, some of the subject matter is heart breaking and thought provoking as well.  It does not aim to just pass sometime over the weekend, it aims to be an indie album that brings out devotion and is as cherished to their fans as it is to them.  The passion on show here is fantastic, the craftmanship is beautiful and the overall results are one of the best album from these likely lads from Wearside.  As I said at the end, it does not feel like the album ended with a finality, it feels like it they are just getting started.  This is a great record and I would recommend it to anyone.

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

Top track - Effetism

You can purchase the digital copy of the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Little Comets website here, there is also a webstore where you can purchase the CD copy of the album directly from the band

Here is a link to the Soundcloud page for Little Comets (it does not have the album, but it is full of good songs)

You can stream the album from Spotify here

Four our Deezer users, here is a link for you

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