Recorded at Soup Studios with producer Simon Trought at the helm, and inspired by the psycho-geography of walks in North London woods and in the forgotten grey hinterland of the city’s back streets, Comet Gain's seventh album “Paperback Ghosts” comes soaked in autumn melancholy. Tender-hearted but not miserable, defiant but not angry, it maintains the delicate balance that has always been Comet Gain’s strength.
The album is about ghosts: the half-forgotten spectres of lost loves; the people who live inside their own sepia-tinted memories; the mystical phantom presence of previous owners retained by used books, the paperbacks haunted by old fingerprints. Blending psychedelia, folk-rock, garage muscle and 4am sadness, the songs draw on the esoteric that lies behind the ordinary. All contain a hope or sweetness. “Sad Love and other Short Stories” is about being haunted by memories of a lost, unrequited love, while in “An Orchid Stuck in Her Throat” a living ghost reflects on a life of missed chances. Stranger still is “Confessions of a Daydream”, wherein a mystic mod magician wanders Limehouse conjuring up the ghosts of Margaret Thatcher and flame haired 50s witch goddess Marjorie Cameron to wage a perpetual psychic war in the phantom back streets of broken London, before the defiantly undead John McKeown (The Yummy Fur / The 1990s) pops up at the end to intone some words of wisdom.
Comet Gain are David Charlie Feck (vocals, guitar), Ben Phillipson (guitar), Rachel Evans (vocals), ex-Morrissey/The Meteors drummer Woodie Taylor (percussion), Anne Laure Guillain (keyboards) and new recruit, Clientele bassist James Hornsey – a motley group of like-minded romantics, taking pride in an abject failure to care about the normal band model. Inspired at times by early Creation Records, Television Personalities and mod culture, drawing from the same ideals as Dexys, The Style Council and Vic Godard and from the lineage of The Velvet Underground, The Byrds and the 13th Floor Elevators, their mystic anarchist principles blend French New Wave with English kitchen-sink heart. For years they have drifted through scenes picking up people and emotional ties - from Riot Grrrl to acid punks, C86 to lo-fi - yet somehow outliving their peers and in turn inspiring a younger generation of DIY musicians like The Cribs, Love Is All, Veronica Falls, and Crystal Stilts.
On each album they record, Comet Gain bring together their myriad of influences, creating a cohesive aesthetic between sound, artwork, liner notes and ideas. "Paperback Ghosts" is no different, offering us a glimpse into a haunted half-world with its strings, yearning harmonies, 12-string acoustic guitars and half-focused vision of pianos in reverb, while remaining at heart a pop record, a richly textured affirmation of Comet Gain’s twenty-year anti-career.