Since Comet Gain’s inception more than 20 years ago, frontman David Feck has found inspiration in outsiders, the iconoclastic artists who perhaps took a fleeting shot at success and missed, or maybe never even tried very hard at all. Jack Nance, Dan Treacy, Robert Forster and Nicholas Ray are just a few of the kindred souls who have been mentioned throughout Comet Gain’s back catalog, and they foreshadow the full-on fascination with the spirits of the downtrodden, and what becomes of them, that imbues Paperback Ghosts.
Throughout the album Feck’s in a particularly contemplative, even existential, mood, musing on its tranquil, shuffling opener “Long After Tonight’s Candles are Blown,” “We are holding on to life/ Because heaven is a lie,” and on the bruised, twilit ballad “Wait ’til December,” “If the world ends then it’s OK/ It’s just their world.”
“Confessions of a Daydream” conjures a full-on phantasmagoria, in which Margaret Thatcher and witch goddess Marjorie Cameron are summoned to battle, over a churning, “Sister Ray”-esque boogie-down riff. Yummy Fur’s John McKeown jumps in at the coda, cryptically urging, “Every little nothing is some kind of something,” as a funereal organ bleeds into the proceedings. Like the rest of this record, it’s fitful and beguiling, ultimately another auspicious addition to the band’s impressive discography.