The difficult second album is a cliché used so often in music journalism, I feel almost a little bit naughty/sweaty (delete as appropriate) using it, but for Little Comets and their ‘Life is Elsewhere’, they were always going to have a tough time. Even if they are managed by the legend that is Ugo Ehiogu’s record label.
After the Tyneside indie rock trio hammered down their sound in debut ‘In Search of Elusive Little Comets’, the follow-up was always going to be a case of “Oh, we’re going to run off in a completely juxtaposition direction and play with an orchestra / full country ensemble” or a ‘right, we’ve got a good little thing going on here, let’s carry on with that but just do it a hell of a lot better”. Luckily, it’s the latter route they went down and in doing so, they have managed to create a polished collection of some truly brilliant tunes, dripping with unorthodox song structures and sexy rhythms.
Starting with a burst of cheery poppiness with ‘A Little Opus,’ you’re treated to a burst of sound which wouldn’t sound to out of place on an ’80s sitcom starring Bill Cosby. You get a bit more of that cheeky, cheeriness at the opening of ‘Jennifer’ also, with even a bit of classic dooby-dooby doing. If you’re already sick of cheery, light heartedness and are just dying for something dark and depressing, well, you’re out of luck. Its smiles all the way on the good ship Little Comets.
Ok, so ‘Violence Out Tonight’ doesn’t sound like a massively cheery number, but by song seven, I challenge you to not have a smile on your face because of these boys, despite the song’s rather grim and brutal subject matter. There is also some darkness to them in songs like ‘Waiting in the Shadows of the Dead of Night’ and the rather ‘In Blue Music We Trust’, but the jaunty melodies and bursting percussion more than make up for it with some great samba styling.
The song structure can be described as nothing less than bonkers. The band consisting of Robert Coles on vocals, Michael Coles on guitar, Matt Hall on bass and Greenie on drums seem to have had a look at the big book of the conventions of music and just thought, “nah, not interested”. While ‘Woman Woman’ does replicate some traditional rhythms, even then they throw convention out the window and just go, sod it. No percussion.
The album is a creature which works best when listened to all together, but standout moments can’t go much further than ‘Worry’. With its funky as hell guitars and softly spoken lyrics, it has a surf pop feel without being overdone and sounding like The Beach Boys. Robert Coles’ voice is another strength that has been built on since the last album. It felt like he wasn’t really too well-suited to the style in their first effort; however, now with their style being developed and honed to the perfection on this album, his voice seems to have found its level and even the lyrical content seems more suited to the Tynesider’s vocal range.
Little Comets, in creating ‘Life is Elsewhere’, have transcended the middle of the road indie band tag they gained with their debut release ‘In Search of Elusive Little Comets’ and it seems in their sophomore outing they truly have found what the ‘elusive’ Little Comets are. A band on the rise who are making some fabulous pop music, have a listen, or watch a guy jump from 125,000 feet. It’s your choice…
‘Life is Elsewhere’, the second album from Little Comets, is out now on Dirty Hit. Watch the video for ‘Worry’ below.