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Comess, Aaron: Sculptures

My last encounter with drummer Aaron Comess came over two decades ago, with one of the most boring, self indulgent evenings of ‘entertainment’ I’ve witnessed being doled out by the drummer and his band, Spin Doctors. Riding high on the mega-success of their multi-million selling debut album and singles, the lads up on stage arrived in Glasgow with the mistaken thought that if they were having a great time then everybody else must be too. Unfortunately, even all these years down the line, little appears to have changed, Comess offering up a fairly impenetrable solo album, Sculptures, alongside Leon Gruenbaum who plays samichillian tip tip tip cheepee synthesizer (so the press release tells me).

Opening with the title track, a click clack thwack of percussion is revealed as it barely glances at its howling, prowling synth mate in sympathy. Have these two chaps been sent the same pieces of music to reveal? “Berlin” follows and compounds expectations by being a mellow and melancholy acoustic ballad which, slowly builds into quite an enigmatic shimmer of imagery. Maybe I was wrong after all?

A bark of synth and chug of keys is then punctuated by percussive slaps and we’re off again in the land of ‘we can so we will’, before “Whaky” decides to be Ozric Tentacles without the, well, you know, good bits - drum rolls and snare abuse underpinned by squeeeeing synth and grinding electro-gears. And then, wallop, here’s the groove and the proof that when they care to, this duo can indeed lock in tight and enthral. It’s called “The Beast”, yet even here the payoff takes patience. “The Pink Room” follows and with a sliding rock twist of gliding guitar melody and beautifully repeated motifs, it feels like something of a pat on the head for staying the course with the less engaging fare. I’m guessing however, that Comess prefers the more jagged indulgences elsewhere.

Veering closet to jazz, “Soundcheck-Oceans” adds a welcome structure to the more challenging side of Sculptures, before the final reward for being a good-boy appears in the shape of the closing “Falling Leaves” and its acoustic meanderings, before the slightly less engaging “Berlin Part Two” brings down the curtain.

In the end Sculptures feels like something of a compromise and makes for an album of strange bedfellows and uneasy neighbours; and one which pleases and bemuses on alternate turns. Of course, maybe it’s just me, but just as I did all those years ago, I can’t quite help but walk away from Aaron Comess safe in the knowledge that he has had a great time and that I nearly did.

Track Listing
1. Sculptures
2. Berlin
3. Dogs
4. Whaky
5. The Beast
6. The Pink Room
7. Soundcheck-Oceans
8. Falling Leaves
9. Berlin Part Two

Added: July 7th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Aaron Comess on facebook
Hits: 177
Language: english

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