'My Boy William' is the first song on Hope Is Just A State Of Mind. The song takes a strong curve or two. From a seconds long silence with some water falling, to a vocal intro before a single acoustic guitar comes in. After 1 minute the song really starts and we're in hey-ho territory. Followers of Mumford & Sons was my quick assessment. The way the guitar is played, very rhythmically on the lower/deeper strings is a great start, but the former was a reason to stop listening. Well, almost, as I never know for sure. See the latest of Of Monsters & Man, for example. An electric guitar solo changes the mood a little and weird things start happening. Almost in Talking Heads style. The mood goes down again and someone's toddler joins the song. "William, was it really nothing"?, no, this boy William inspired.
My inbox regularly receives an email asking whether I'm planning to publish a review on a specific album. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it is no. No review if I do not like the album. Why waste valuable time on something I do not like?, is one of the ways to continue a blog like this. Only once I received an answer saying "You are really missing something", after I answered no. O.k., I thought, let's give it another chance and form an opinion.
After listening for a few times it becomes clear that Little Comets is not your average hey-ho band. It certainly has outward signs of it, but then the madness creeps in upsetting the apple cart in no little way. The link to Talking Heads isn't such a strange one. A more modern influence is probably Vampire Weekend, although I'm not very knowledgeable here, as I never got used to its music. That African sort of guitar playing and rhythms can be found in a somewhat watered down version on Hope Is Just A State Of Mind. Paul Simon's 'Graceland' even comes to mind in a song like 'Formula'. An indie version of 'Graceland' but undeniably present. When in 'Salt' the band does an Alt-J, a nice Alt-J, certainly, my judgement becomes a bit firmer again.
Reading up on the band I find that this is the band's third album after 'In Search Of Elusive Little Comets' (2011) and 'Life Is Elsewhere' (2012). After this it became somewhat quiet around the band. Two EPs followed in 2014 before this year Hope Is Just A State Of Mind was released. Singer guitarist Robert Coles, his brother Michael, lead guitar, backing vocals and bass player Matt Hall are a trio since their drummer left. Stemming from the Newcastle, U.K. region, singer Coles has a familiar accent, that shines through every once in a while, for the fans of Paul Smith.
Quality wise I'm still being shaken around a bit when listening to the album. What is very clear is that Little Comets doesn't have that much with hey-ho as I thought at first. It's more in the upbeat singing than in the music itself. Perhaps they have in the past, I do not know, that being the reason for the first song as a bridge to its new identity? Indie rock is what this band is about. The longer the album is on its way, the better I'm enjoying myself. 'Fundamental Little Things' and 'Don't Fool Yourself' are fun indie rock songs. Not unique, but the songs have a swing and make a point.
The final song is a different beast. The title is ton of pretensions, 'The Blur, The Line and The Thickest Of Onions'? Please, what kind of title is that? The song itself is just as difficult, hidden away at the end of the album.
Hope Is Just A State Of Mind is far from a bad album. I know that much by now. That I keep having my doubts is because I wonder what the album adds to what went before. Too much sounds are overly familiar, in the singing, the playing and songwriting itself. Little Comets at this point in time are followers, of several different musical streams even. At the same time this band knows how to write a decent song. At times even surprises. Let's hope that it is a matter of time before they find their own voice, while keeping up their level of proficiency.
You can listen to 'Effetism' here:
or buy on Bol.Com