By Little Comets
Little Comets are an interesting band. They have been teetering on the edge of indie excellence for the last 5 years, and I cannot for the life of me work out why they aren't one of the biggest guitar bands in the country. Their regular stomping ground covers polished, pop production, huge hooks and sing-a-long choruses to match any other, from NME newcomer to Arena almighty. What the band also have on their tool belt are honest lyrics, delivered with a sharp turn of phrase and vast vocabulary. Since their debut album was released in 2011 the band's brand of 'Kitchen Sink Indie' has eluded the masses, sitting enthusiastically in the iTunes libraries of their small but loyal fan base, racking up plays a plenty. It is with this in mind that I listened to the band's forthcoming third album 'Hope Is Just A State Of Mind', due for release on February 16th.
In the introduction to the record 'My Boy William' we hear singer Rob Coles take a drink from the tap before sitting down in guitarist Mickey's kitchen to play and sing the opening verse in one take, on an acoustic guitar. This opening verse alludes to the DIY nature of the album, recorded and produced by the band in various settings, including a loft space a garage and indeed, the kitchen aforementioned. It tips its hat to the subject matter of the first song, and indeed several themes laced throughout the record, the family, togetherness and caring for the common man.
Two of the band have recently become fathers, and this seems to have influenced their musical direction. With this new offering, Little Comets seem happy to move away from the hysteria of the mainstream music industry, no longer feeling compelled to cater to the pop sensibilities of the masses, they make a conscious effort to connect with their pre-existing audience on a personal level.
The band have always been socially conscious, weaving within their metaphor, messages surrounding morality and socio-political comment, on the new album this type of subject matter seems far more apparent. 'Hope Is Just A State Of Mind' feels more like a call to arms in an odd sense, the lyrical content urges the listener to take stock of their surroundings and question the everyday injustices of political corruption. Perhaps this coincides with the paternal instinct to teach a child about the world, maybe the band feel more responsible as people for the moral development of their kids, and so the album has taken shape laced with more serious content. Great albums often reflect the situation their composers inhabit, and at the moment I'm pretty happy to call this a great album.
'B&B' discusses the recent 'bedroom tax' brought in by the current Government, 'The Daily Grind' references The Daily Mail, 'Wherewithal' surrounds the subject of domestic violence against women, accompanied in its feminism by 'The Blur the Line and the Thickest of Onions' which picks apart the over sexualisation of the female form within music. The issues tackled throughout the album are obviously held very dear by the band. The platform they inhabit as musicians, their ability to write great tunes and that excellent turn of phrase allows for the message to be spread wide, but I suppose the main point to the record is that everyone has a voice. 'The Gift of Sound' references everyone's ability to use language to make a difference, a common voice, it ties everything together rather well.
Speaking of tying everything together rather well, there is an excellent coherency from song to song, brought about by the album's masterful production. Guitarist, Mickey Coles has a unique set of studio spells that he has cast over previous Little Comets releases, and this album certainly didn't disappoint on that front. Warped, weird guitars, stacked angelic harmonies and powerful driving percussion take a set of very different songs and make them into an air tight album. A hat seems to be tipped to George Martin, as instruments are panned wide, left and right, entering one ear and leaving another as they sweep across each song. Unique sounding guitars are the main feature, but when the album is produced by the guitarist, that's to be expected, I suppose.
All in all, Little Comets have created an album that matters. Whether it does what their previous two could not, and breaks through into mass music markets, or sits subtly next to its predecessors in the iTunes libraries of already excited fans, it says something pretty spectacular. There is a message of good will which will undoubtedly resonate with anyone who takes the time to listen, if they're not too busy dancing around their bedroom, that is.
Little Comets Live Dates:
Little Comets are playing live on Thursday 19th Feb at the Library. This is set to be a very special and intimate 'choose the set list' gig. If you missed out on tickets, they play Fibbers in York on the 6th March as part of their UK tour.