Little Comets – Life is Elsewhere
Life is Elsewhere is the second full-length LP to be released by the relatively new, but frightfully good, indie rock trio Little Comets. Hailing from the river Tyne, as it would seem, the previous description marking the men as an indie rock band would be unfair to what the Little Comets are doing musically. It is as if, when listening to Life is Elsewhere, one becomes afflicted with synesthesia. Senses blend, and you can imagine the song’s lyrics scrawled on tattered pages of road-worn journals. The hand that moves the quill belongs to lead singer/guitarist, Robert Coles, and moves well, it does.
It is hard to not feel as if a story is unfolding before you as the tracks progress. Each word is chosen so tersely, as if Coles has some elder-knowledge of the English language. He uses only the words that carry the heaviest context, allowing you to readily project the images of his voice onto the barren walls of your mind.
The words themselves seem to blend into an almost ardent mumble, fulfilling exactly what the listener should hear in every phrase. The words do not extend too far beyond Coles’ unique, self-allocated meter, or even stray from the familial sound of the words that surround them. They nestle, cozily, into their respective slots in the meter, as if they are exactly the words that belong in that particular space.
The vocal melodies do not go unrivaled, and it is the unique sound and rhythm the trio produces that is equally engrossing. What could be haphazardly described as a meld of Afrobeat-infused, dancey southern-rock, the sound seems to evade all finger pointing, and becomes harder to place with each passing song. A listener could hear the funkiest of beats, reminiscent of contemporaries like Foals, or Bombay Bicycle Club. You can also hear the southern pentatonic riffs you would hear in songs by bands like Delta Spirit or Wilco.
The half-way mark features what is quite possibly the most haunting track released this year, “Violence Out Tonight”. Sounds become sparse and the listener is greeted, for the first time on the LP, by an acoustic guitar. In a chilling account of rape, Coles speaks so eloquently of the scene, relaying the morbid reality of the act:
As they step into the dark
Only moonlight hides his treason
And the shadows skip like sharks
Through the gasps of air between them
She says: “Becalm your hands boy I thought
restraint was now your sentiment of choice?”
But as his fingers strike her blouse
All the words that he espoused
Lie deftly scattered on the ground amidst
the buttons he‘s torn open
Coles’ voice is stunning enough to conjure images of him so vehemently forming the words in his mouth, contorting his lips as if packaging them with the finality of his captivating vocal inflection.
The first half of the LP showcases the Little Comets’ ability to create soaring, insatiably catchy choruses in tracks like the opener, “A Little Opus” and the solid southern-funk jam, “Jennifer.” It seems like Coles muses through the deeper parts of the well of ideas in the latter half of the album, and it contributes to the overall progression of the LP in a very enveloping way.
If it can be said, the highlight of the album is the track “Waiting in the Shadows in the Dead of Night.” Brother of Robert Coles, and lead guitarist of the collective, Michael Coles has made use of his most impressive riff on this track. It is accentuated by varying dynamics and his brother’s powerful and emotive voice. Its tracks like these where one yearns to see the band live more than anything, whilst simultaneously realizing that the band has yet to make it to America. While making it in America may not be the sign of what makes a band successful, it begs the question, “Why can’t we have them too?”
Artist Name: Little Comets
Album Name: Life is Elsewhere
Release Date: October, 2012
Location: Newcastle, UK
Band Members: Robert Coles, Michael Coles, Matt Hall