David Christian And The Pinecone Orchestra – For Those We Met on the Way (2021)

Posted by Green on November 22, 2021
in folk
as

320 | FLAC

Over the course of their near thirty year career, Comet Gain weren’t only foot stomping indie rockers with a punk heart and a Northern soul. Under the guidance of David Christian, they were just as adept at mid-tempo, folk rock-inspired ballads. Autumnal, sad, poetic, and proudly emotional, these songs often served as the emotional ballast on their albums. These are the kind of songs Christian chose for his first release as a solo artist, 2021 For Those We Met on the Way. Filled with keys of all kinds, rich backing vocals, lonely pedal steel guitar — played by members of Comet Gain, Lightships, the Clientele, and more — and a mix that’s full and impressive, Christian pairs a batch of intensely personal songs with the most impressive, most produced music of his career. He’s definitely going for a early 70’s Gene Clark or Bill Fay kind of feel, the kind of album where the singer pours his or her heart out while surrounded by a bevy of compatriots. A little bit of country, a little bit of classic rock, a whole lot of feeling and still plenty of the jagged emotions Comet Gain fans love so much. A handful of the songs could have come from one of their albums. “In My Hermit Hours” is a jangling pop delight, “Ballads of the Button Downs’ has a punk edge and the most insistent vocal on the album, and “Dream a Better Me” rocks along nicely. The rest of the album cuts a more distinguished figure, that of the songwriter in autumn going over the past with sharp eyed regret, fighting the urge to be nostalgic while cataloging life’s failures and successes. “Goodbye Teenage Blue” is the most explicit of these type of songs as he totes up how many copies of Crocodiles and Kilimanjaro he owns and frets over writing the same song over and over. Other songs deal with childhood, moving house, family, the ups and downs of love, and late adulthood, all set to gentle folk strumming (“Holloway Sweethearts”), swaying Cosmic Americana (“When I Called Their Names They’d Faded Away”), rumbling Zevon-esque rock (“Lockets, Drop-outs And Dragnets”), and radiantly melancholy baroque folk (“See You in the Almost Sunshine.”) It’s kind of funny that on his first solo album Christian surrounds himself with such lush arrangements and a wide array of sounds, but it’s a fine way to make a break from the sometimes simple pleasures of Comet Gain. It’s also in no way any kind of mellowing as it’s clear from the bittersweet lyrics and feeling he puts into the singing that even though he may have gone country rock, he hasn’t gone soft. For Those We Met on the Way is just the kind of thought provoking, emotionally captivating album Comet Gain fans have some to rely on. The packaging might be a little fancier, the mood may be a little more relaxed, but at it’s bloody, unbent core, the song remains exactly the same.

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