I've been aware of Comets On Fire for a long time. I heard their first major album, Field Recordings From The Sun, was an insane ball of distortion unlike much out there. I listened - and recoiled. Devoid of melody and structure (to my ear), the album was, to me, unlistenable - as I told you when I posted "Blue Tomb" a few days ago. That song was from their second album, Blue Cathedral, and when it came out, I heard, "It's just as crazy! But more accessible!" And so it was... by like one iota. "Blue Tomb" and maybe one or two other songs survive in my collection. Then, a few weeks ago, I heard their new new album was coming out. I had to give them credit, "Blue Tomb" was so great that it warranted my checking out their new album - that is, as soon as it comes out in August, you understand. Well, my friends, the poisonous, spiny caterpillar has entered its chrysalis and emerged an unbelievably badass butterly.
Gone are the intimidating trappings of a noise band exploring just how noisy noise can be. I direct you to Soft Canyon's Broken Spirit, I Will Mend Your Wings as the only other real example I can think of that creates a sound so completely foreign in time. While the music is not really comparable, both share a love of analog sound and anachronism. I understand Comets On Fire to be insane about their gear, building it themselves or salvaging ancient amps from dust-choked attics of former Red Krayola members. Alas, I can't give you any reference points for what this new album sounds like other than Soft Canyon, and even then, they're only a reference because no one sounds like them any more either.
Much more than before, and more than most other bands, Comets On Fire establish an incredible breadth of sounds on the album. The opening track, "Dogwood Rust," is reminiscent of their older albums, but somehow strikes a balance between being more orderly and melodic, and being utterly insane. The catchy retro groove and beautifully clean guitars of "Jaybird" can only be appreciated with close listening, though an occasional blast of noise may startle you out of your seat. And just to show you what they're capable of, what's "Lucifer's Memory" but a piano-led ballad complete with careful songwriting and vocal harmonies! And the wail of guitars distorted beyond recognition somehow jives perfectly with the soulful climax? I won't spoil any more for you, I will just say that this album in only 7 songs encompasses more musical meat than... well, I don't know, but the fact that we're getting things that belong in the wet dreams of Jim Morrison, Lightning Bolt, Dead Meadow, and Wolf Eyes on the same album renders my feeble analogies toothless.
I won't delay you any longer. You need this whole album; the time to get into Comets On Fire is NOW.