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David Christian & The Pinecone OrchestraTapete
For Those We Met On The Way
Released: 24th November 2021
|CD||£11.99||Buy Now||In Stock. Dispatched on Monday.|
|LP||£23.99||Buy Now||In Stock. Dispatched on Monday.|
Comet Gain can sometimes feel like the outsiders outsider band - a band operating in their own time and place - bruised, defiant, heart on sleeve sweethearts. They’re always a band looking for something just beyond - in a way this places them in the same realm as Dexys, albeit slightly less celebrated. In 2014 they made an early autumn record called Paperback Ghosts that I consider one of the best records of the last 10 years. Lyrically dense and three-dimensional with gorgeous tunes, I hopefully felt it might go all the way. It did for me. The follow up, Fireraisers, Forever! was very different - angry, militant, of its time. For Those We Met On The Way, which isn’t a Comet Gain record per se (even if most of them are on it), David Christian & The Pinecone Orchestra seem to return to Paperback Ghosts but set later in the year. This feels more like late autumn, early winter.
It’s a rich, rewarding record - anthemic in places, in places high on it’s own realistic righteousness. It was made in France, David’s escaped Brexit Britain, but it’s as much a record of growing up in London and Brighton and Oxford and remembering the people you were around and you loved. It’s a warm, tender record made with a skilled set of collaborators including Cosmic Nemsn (Herman Dune / Zombie Zombie), James Horsey and Alasdair MacLean (The Clientele), Gerard Love (Teenage Fanclub / Lightships) and other good sorts. It’s like the Jacobites or the Fairports or mostly Comet Gain a couple of years on. It’s one to come back to over and over in those winter nights, a thoughtful, unflinching record that will illuminate on dark days. Bring on some light, we need it.
Here’s the press release, it’s a bit of a perfect complement to the record, I suspect David may have had a hand in it…
“After 29 years with British indie/garage/beat/punk/psych-pop collective Comet Gain, singer/ mastermind and main fireraiser David Christian thought, "Why not do a solo album?" After all, some of his favourite records are also solo records by people from bands; John Cale, Gene Clark, Julian Cope, Stephen Duffy, Mike Nesmith, Curtis Mayfield, Neil Young... under the sun of his new home in the South of France, exchanged for Brexit London, a timeless folkrock album was created with the kind help of numerous friends on numerous instruments. The verve and snottiness of the Comet Gain sound can also be found here, but "For Those We Met On The Way" sounds more dandy, somehow more southern French. If you like listening to "Robespierre's Velvet Basement" by the Jacobites AND the electric songs of Bob Dylan's "Bringing it All Back Home" AND Comet Gain... then "For Those We Met On The Way" is perfect for you!
Fleeing screaming from the group gulag after 29 years of maintaining sweet failure at all costs with his group Comet Gain (a mix of post punk, garage punk, northern soul, freakbeat/psych, early creation records, indie pop, folk rock and other such messes all churned together with films, books, left wing politics-all THAT stuff falling out of a bin onto a pile of records) songwriter and singer and oldest bastard in the gang David Christian (sometimes known as Feck) escaped to the French woods by the ocean when Boris and his rabid disgusting crew weren't looking. After a while of picking up pinecones he decided he simply had to EXPRESS HIS INNER SOUL. “Fuck it, i might as well make a solo record". Some of his favourite records were solo lps from people in bands – John Cale, Gene Clark, Julian Cope, Stephen Duffy, Mike Nesmith, Neil Young, Mark Eitzel, Sandy Denny, Curtis Mayfield, etc – and there were all those great solo solo ones from Jimmy Camel, Bill Fay etc and it seemed like everybody was looking back or inward due to that plague thing, a connection to what you loved or who you missed in order to make sense of the nonsensical world of Brexit and plague and all that shit.
The LP was made in the middle of the french countryside in a barn/farm owned by Mike and Allison Targett of Heist fame where along with old comrade and wonderful drummer, Cosmic Neman (Zombie/Zombie, Herman Dune) they cut the record while cows grazed with Mike producing and both Targetts adding vocals, pianos etc. Then later, the group of friends known as The Pinecone Orchestra; James Horsey and Alasdair MacLean (The Clientele), Ben Phillipson (18th Day Of May/Trimdon Grange Explosion/Comet Gain), Gerard Love (Teenage Fanclub/Lightships), Anne-Lauren Guillain (Comet Gain/Cinema Red And Blue) and Joe-Harvey Whyte (Hanging Stars) coloured everything in with guitars, vocals, bass, pedal steel etc. So David’s rules for the LP were off to a good start. Get some good dudes to play with you, also... it's a solo record so be honest bad or good, don’t listen to any records before and rip anything off (very difficult after years of "ooh-i'll have that riff!").
Part of the weird process of looking back or trying to diary a life full of holes is that it's best managed through friends, places, records. But mainly the people you knew – good or bad – those fleeting best friends forevers whose faces you now struggle to recall, the crushes that crushed you until you wonder 'well i wonder how their life turned out'. Moving country makes you go through boxes and find memorials – letters, photos, all kinds of mementos and some tug at you preciously so the title of the record was in tribute to these half remembered and faded folks - 'the ones that burst into your heart and are then lost forever' but you can navigate your way to who you were or where or what by their psychic presence-maps to a gone you. The plan was to inhabit the songs with these moments, people, places, etc and then banish them sweetly – or as sung in "Goodbye Teenage Blue": "you've got to break the taboo by singing goodbye teenage blue" to exorcise your ghost suitcase weight – so there are songs about the future ("On The Last Day (We Spend Together)"), the present ("In My Hermit Hours", "Dream A Better Me" and the past (most of the others) and "Mum's and Dad's and Other Ghosts" which holds to the past while giving a message to a future.
When a record has just YOUR name on it you try to make it good. No shadows to hide in, even your mum might hear it. Solo records are (technically) written by songwriters, so might as well try and write some songs. So that's what David tried and he thinks he did ok. There are broken ballads, long winding songs, short pop songs, and things in between. Acoustic guitars, pianos, pedal steels, harmonies, wonderful drumming… There are alcoholic skinheads, forest hermits, Californian dudes, Holloway sweethearts, bruised mods in the upstairs room, strange boys being hit by a car, painters who can’t paint no more, friends and ghosts and lovers and losers.”
1. In My Hermit Hours
2. Goodbye Teenage Blue
3. Holloway Sweethearts
4. When I Called Their Names They'd Faded Away
5. Dream A Better Me
6. On The Last Day (We Spend Together)
7. Lockets, Drop-outs And Dragnets
8. Pay Me. Later, Coco + Dee
9. See You In Almost Sunshine
10. I Used To Make Drawings
11. The Ballad For The Button-downs
12. Mum's And Dad's And Other Ghosts