Sunday 15 June 2014

Men Oh Pause - Pulse Check ep (Tuff Enuff Records)

Forget C86 revivalism, there's a new sound in town, and it's called Men Oh Pause, who make the poppiest anti-pop this side of Young Marble Giants.

This defiantly indie four-track ep from the often excellent Tuff Enuff shows Men Oh Pause resurrect the ghosts of Huggy Bear, Slampt!, Prolapse and several mid-90s US obscurities on the much-missed Troubleman Unlimited imprint. That's right - "imprint".

Featuring Jacindy Cartland from King Alfred, Man Of Leisure, Maureen Bourne from Leopard Leg and Flo Brooks from Chaps, Men Oh Pause sound almost too cool, with their playground chant vocals, underpinned by an impending sense of doom and/or claustrophobia.

"Sapphire and Steel" (named after everyone's favourite early 80s creepout sci-fio series) is the highlight here, a sinister Wurlitzer of a tune, that suddenly changes tack and turns into a growling drone pop delight. Imagine Free Kitten with a touch of the music hall. It's a heady brew alright.

Friday 6 June 2014

Comet Gain: for better, for worse, forever

Oh, another Comet Gain album. For every fantastic night out that has been soundtracked by Comet Gain, there have been half as many drastic times where they've been more than a night nurse.

Over the last two decades, Comet Gain have been there for me, and even after a dozen or so proper listens of their latest classic, 'Paperback Ghosts' (Fortuna Pop!), this new runt to a litter of perfectly mis-shaped albums is way, way up there.

It's for the dreamers, schemers and miscreants. For those who have loved and for those that have lost and want to be lost. It's heartbreaking and genuine and a shot in the arm... and a kick in the head - just when you probably deserve it.

It has a song called 'Behind the House She Lived In', which is dancefloor filler that has the ability to reduce anyone to tears whilst they're flailing around at 1 in the morning. Then there's 'Breaking Open the Head Part 1' - a new wave shimmer and a complete attack dog of a pop song. Fights behind the youth club, a party you know you're not wanted at. A walk home from a terrible club on your own, in the rain. Go home and put a Comet Gain album on and FIGHT BACK.

And what is everyone else going to do because they haven't heard 'Casino Classics' or 'Realistes' or 'Howl of the Lonely Crowd' and now Paperback Ghosts? Those poor, lost fools. And they've never heard 'The Last Love Letter' - where David Feck's open heart is there in full, gory, bleeding beautiful detail.

When I first heard Comet Gain back in 1995, I was properly on my arse. On the dole, in a bedsit with no running water and having found myself newly single after splitting up with the person who I'd moved to Nottingham with. Times - and problems - change. Comet Gain keep on, keepin' on. And that is one of the most precious things in the world.

Needless to say, you need 'Paperback Ghosts' in your life - and whatever your life is like, this album will make it that little bit better. Go get.