The ‘indie kitchen sink’ (whatever that means) Geordie trio Little Comets have certainly come a long way since their unprecedented gigs in Marks and Spencer when they burst onto the scene in 2009. While the well-known catchy tracks such as ‘Dancing Song’ and ‘One Night In October’ continue to attract sell-out crowds to their shows, their newest release ‘The Gentle EP’ greatly reflects the band’s growing maturity as musicians. The EP’s title is fitting to the more lilting tone in comparison to their previous albums, however its meaning is deliberately paradoxical, in that it echoes the band’s desire for meaningful music in the face of the ‘brash’ and impetuous contemporary music scene. The four tracks are intensely lyrical and uniquely draw on personal opinions on life, many of which we have all undoubtedly accused, making it an absorbing listen.
‘The Gentle EP’ kicks off with its brightest and most upbeat track ‘Little Italy,’ which offers self-reflection and contemplation on life. A slightly odd jangly guitar loop accompanied by off-beat and percussive vocals reveals an experimental side to the band’s sound, and – at first – is slightly off-putting. However, once the song kicks in you do find yourself tapping along to the tune whilst soaking up the highly poetic lyrics, making the initially tricky listen an ultimately enjoyable one.
It’s with the second track that we become submerged in what Little Comets are all about. ‘The Blur, The Line and the Thickest of Onions’ presents a direct criticism of a complacent society, who sadly have become okay with everything despite the multitude of problems surrounding us. The song is essentially an explicit dig at the music industry; a reaction against the way that music is manufactured without thought, openly promoting violence and degrading women, particularly targeting that ‘chief irritant in the sea of misogynist bile.’ The song carries harrowing beats and isolated vocals, which create a darker atmosphere in which the lyrics and their meaning are rightfully magnified.
‘Coalition of One’ perfectly demonstrates the stripping back of Little Comets’ music in order to convey the meaning of the song loud and clear. Robert Coles sorrowfully expresses the despair and disappointment in the government felt by many, and really connects with the listener by his woeful refrain ‘there’s so many people that feel let down like I do.’ The poignancy of the song is enhanced by the simple acoustic guitar arrangement, however accompanied with electronicised drum beats to keep the continuity from the previous track. ‘Early Retirement,’ the closing track of the EP, is perhaps the most melancholic, consisting of purely Coles’ vocals and a hesitant piano accompaniment. The strain and emotion of the EP is heightened and left to linger by the final line “I’m worn down by it all.”
‘The Gentle’ may not have been the EP you expected, or even wanted from Little Comets, (I was definitely looking forward to more up-tempo, cheery riffs) however it is nonetheless impressive and shows how much this talented trio has grown. While it’s songs are seemingly much darker and thought-provoking, the EP is still equipped with enough energy to put it on repeat. ‘The Gentle’ certainly shows that Little Comets have taken a huge step in their career, and its most definitely one in the right direction.