Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Comet Gain - Strength

(Wiiija, 1997)

These U.K. modderfuckers have always done a credible impression of handclappy days gone by, with the organs, horns, girly backing-vox, yeah-yeahs, and heavy echo adding up to a certain kind of studied fashion-pop whose own reeking cleverness occasionally overpowers its winningly catchy affability. And, indeed, on “Strength” the sound is just too clean and antiseptic to hide the obsessive historical cribbing that went into every stage of the song’s life: it’s numbingly paint-by-numbers mod-/soul-pop. “A Film By Kenneth Anger” and “Letting Go” satisfy and avoid suffocating under frilly period touches, but still aren’t much more than moody thinking-fella’s pop that please the ears while avoiding making a knock-knock on the door of the ol’ memory banks. On this disc at least, we’re not talking about anything beyond a more rock-oriented Belle and Sebastian. Fun and carefully assembled, but it’s ultimately just empty ear-calories.

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