due to their relative anonymity that The Comsat
Angels have largely remained something of an
enigma, although a well documented one.
And this new alliance with Jive finds
them confident but perhaps still slightly cautious.
doesn't seem to have been any great upheaval
in their scheme of things - certainly the sound
here is more precisely commercial and the songs
are accordingly done more justice, but ultimately
Land is a logical continuation rather
than a startling re-evaluation.
does astonish me is a refurbished - but hardly
revolutionised - Independence Day - their
now somewhat ageing mini-classic of several
years back. It makes a bemusing return,
to little effect other than to underline the
comparative lightness of the new material.
It's soaring vocal lines are still magnificent,
but the vital spinal ingredient it contains
is noticeably lacking from the rest of the album.
Day throws too much of side one - apart
from the potent, atmospheric Nature Trails
- into it's shadow.
two is different: happily, they stop coasting
and start driving. They move with ease
from the pulsing, sparse electronics of Mister
Memory (ignore the hideous title!) to the
taut climax of As Above, So Below, revealing
a much greater scope than is apparent in any
of their previous work. More significantly,
they leave a wide array of options open for
achievements of Land are not awesome. It's
simply a quiet re-affirmation of The Comsat Angel's
abilities. They can be tender, powerful and commercial
at moments without degenerating into the role of a slick
pop commodity. For the present, fears of irrevocable
bland-outs can be safely dismissed.
trouble, basically, is the inherent modesty of this
music: although it's impressive, sometimes it seems
almost afraid to break out and search, more content
to probe and explore possibilities rather carefully.
You Stay Tonight is a great pop single; A World Away and I
Know That Feeling show that The Comsat Angels
are equally capable of stretching into other areas,
using elements of rock (without becoming needlessly
brash), disco and electronics sparingly and successfully.