Anyone who has followed Comet Gain since their formation in 1993 has to be somewhat astonished that the band would still be releasing records 15 years later. Their existence is a volatile story of lineup overhauls, rotating members, label changes, shambolic to the point of disastrous live shows, and a general disregard for playing by the rules you have to play by to be a "real" band. It's also a tale of inspiring music, a fierce independence that transcends "indie" rock, and an unswerving determination to make art that means something to people. Over the course of five albums and loads of singles, the group has defied logic and created a legacy of great records and truly memorable songs. Broken Record Prayers is a collection of singles (both old and new), Peel Sessions, and unreleased tracks recorded after the original lineup of Comet Gain split in 1998. The songs here are a vital document of the band, an amazing run of songs that are always true to the ideals of the band. Sonically, it's remarkable how consistent the band has been; the Peel Sessions from the early days of the new lineup don't sound much different than the newly recorded songs. Comet Gain haven't lost any of their fire, they haven't mellowed, and they haven't given up an inch. New song "Love Without Lies" is just as spiky and torn from the soul of David Christian as anything recorded ten years earlier. The flip side of Comet Gain's brittle, punk-inspired nature is their melancholy, heartbroken ballad side; it's also well represented here by songs like fan favorite "You Can Hide Your Love Forever" and the achingly pretty "Books of California." It's a balancing act that the band has always been able to achieve with great aplomb, and it's good to see the collection isn't titled one way or the other. In fact, it's good just to see that the band is still going strong enough to have a collection like this, a near-perfect summing up of the work of one of the truly great bands of the indie rock era. The only thing that would have been better was a collection that included the same kind of songs from the first edition of the band as well. We may have to wait forever on that one, however. Until that miracle occurs, Broken Record Prayers will do just fine.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra