Comets On Fire – Avatar

Comets on FireThe term “psychedelic rock” probably conjures up lots of bad mental images; sweaty men with beards playing long and winding guitar solos that have that sitar effect on them. Well, good or bad, Uncut magazine has reported a revitalization of “classic psychedelic rock” in America right now. Bands like Dead Meadow have been ploughing a furrow with their brand of thick, heavy rock with nods to the classic rock corner stones of Led Zepplin and Black Sabbath but also the pyschedelic atmosphere of bands like Hawkwind and the Grateful Dead. Now speaheading this scene (and I’m loathe to call it that) are Comets on Fire. The band have recorded three albums already since 2001, they’re early work sounding like full blown, country rock with psych flourishes. Avatar is the album that’s grabbed everybodies attention.

Avatar starts off with amazing force, “Dogwood Rust” stars as if it’s already been going on for a few minutes. The swirling guitars are held together by an intricate bass riff. All of this is held together by some frantic drumming by Utrillio Kushner (Uncut says that well know psych-rocker commented Kushner plays like “two drummers who both think they’re Keith Moon”). The vocals swoop and glide in an amzing harmony, and even though the track goes on for almost 8 minutes, it’s propelled with such force that you never feel there’s a stale moment. “Jaybird” couldn’t be more different; it’s stripped down and allows the vocals to be the focus for the start of the song. Again the bass it tight, the drumming stuttering but halfway through it burst into life with some frantic soloing. “Lucifer’s Memory” is a slower, piano-led piece with a beautiful chorus towards the end.

“The Swallow’s Eye” again starts off fairly evenly paced before erupting into some amzing soloing. I get the impression the band are just jamming, but it never feels self indulgent and the track ends at the right time I felt. “Holy Teeth” is the shortest track on the album and absolutely will blow anyone away; it never lets up for a second. “Sour Smoke” sounds really strange, as the drums have a repeated pounding rhythm that kinda makes the song sound Eastern-European, but by in large you can probably skip this one. “Hatched Upon The Age”, another piano/organ led track that has some shimmering guitar work. Avatar is a great, psychedilic album and should be a must-by for anyone who enjoyed Wolfmother’s psych-rock flourishes. Played loud, it’s simply breath taking.

Comets On Fire – The Antlers of the Midnight Sun (live):

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