Alcohol Fuelled LP
Oh dear, oh dear. It’s times like these I’m glad they lock the windows on the fourteenth floor but, looking on the bright side, I did manage to get to track six without succumbing to the desire to cut my own knee off. However, with the band literature stating ‘Alcohol Fuelled’ to be Comeg’s fourth album, the possibility of four similar sounding discs circulating within the UK fills me with a subtle yet crippling dread.
Now I know how this is sounding, but don’t get me wrong please. Musically, Comeg are fine. Ignoring the rather unimaginative drums constantly screaming out for some decent fills, the whole instrumental package on ‘Alcohol Fuelled’ is actually pretty good (if you’re the effects laden, radio-friendly rock kind). Unfortunately, the west-country four piece are majorly let down by the quality of the vocals.
God rest his soul, the eternally wise Mr Miyagi once decreed that ‘a vocalist lacking range should perfect the notes they can reach, rather than trying to stretch to un-chartered territories’. If only Comeg holidayed in Japan. Throughout the album we are subjected to a very forced and frequently flat vocal style, often overshooting or falling short of notes. One should not underestimate the grating potential of this sort of drone and once music falls victim to it, it is nigh-on impossible to resuscitate.
The whole album sighs out with a longing to be like U2. The guitar parts in ‘Hurricane’ reflect this; and with synths, strings, atmospherics and echoes ( especially in the vocals), Comeg are half way towards honouring the Irish pseudo-politicians. Songs like ’24’ and ‘I’m Your Satellite’ see the frontman mimic their vocal style at times, albeit in a considerably more stale fashion.
This is all very well, but there is an underlying feeling that Comeg want to be a harder, grittier version. The trouble is there seems to be no substance to back up this aspiration.
If the singer had some poetic or philosophical material to fall back on, the vocals may have been less intrusive. Lyrically however, the album falls short. For example, any musician devising the line ‘the hot sun burns a candle in the window of my soul’ needs to be taken by the arm around Topshop, Miss Selfridge and River Island for four hours. That’ll get em’ thinking about the meaning of life.
Although ‘Alcohol Fuelled’ seems to indicate a very limited style on the part of Comeg, there are a couple of instances in which we are teased with something a tad more adventurous. ‘Age of Reason’ is a funkier, though echo-happy, affair which hints at an otherwise hidden musical imagination. Yet it is the penultimate track ‘I Am Curious Pink’ which is the most interesting on the album. A Pink Floyd inspired instrumental, the track sums up Comeg’s kudos well.
Without the whiny vocals lathered on top like lumpy peanut butter, Comeg possess a decent, wholesome instrumental filling that works well sandwiched between their effects and atmospherics.
That said, I’m feeling like the schoolteacher everyone hates here. Erm, well – it’s not all bad, I suppose. ‘Memphis Mist’ sees the most melodic and engaging vocals on the album. This seems to occur because the singer is comfortable and isn’t trying to strain for those elusive notes. In this situation, our attention is not disrupted and we can notice the guitar, bass and synths fitting together nicely. It seems to imply that there IS something of substance here, if you are willing and able to sift through the rubble left by some of the devastating noise prevalent throughout the rest of the album.
Maybe a Christmas present for one of those weird teenage cousins you never see?
Guest article from Dan H.
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