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Comets on Fire | Avatar | review | rock | Lollipop
Comets on Fire
Avatar (Sub Pop)
by Brian Varney
After the turning point away from the excursionary free-form psych of earlier Comets on Fire recordings marked with the release of 2004's Blue Cathedral, the more traditionally-structured pieces contained herein should not be too much of a surprise. You'll notice I say "should," because in spite of what I told myself what to expect, I'd be lying if I didn't say I was surprised and a bit disappointed with Avatar the first couple of times through.
The generally mellower tones, the drastically reduced energy level, the attempts at actual singing: It felt like a different band than the one I'd loved. Truthfully, it felt more like the background music to a Haight Astbury documentary, which is not exactly my idea of a good time. But I felt I owed the band a chance, so rather than write the band off, I put it aside and decided to give it another chance in a couple of weeks.
I don't know if it was the time off or merely a different mindset, but now the changes seem to make perfect sense. A song like "Lucifer's Memory," which manages to retain a psychedelic feel in spite of its gentle, almost soft-rock piano-driven melody and crooned vocals, is much more in line with what I want to hear right now. So while Avatar may not satisfy the hard psych freaks who worship earlier C.O.F. records like Field Recordings from the Sun (which I also love), there's room for both sides of the band's personality in my collection.