Comets on Fire

Comets on Fire

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Santa Cruz noisemakers Comets on Fire's debut recording is basically 32 minutes of screaming garage/psych-inspired insanity. The guitars are loud. Ethan Miller's unhinged vocals are loud. The drums are loud. The songs are short blasts of fury that sound inspired by wild bands from the '60s (Sonics, Blue Cheer), '70s (Stooges, Cramps), and beyond (Jon Spencer, the Make-Up). Helping keep Comets on Fire out of residence in cliché city is the sheer amount of power and abandon the band plays with and the presence of Neil Harmonson on echoplex. The echoplex is an old tape-driven echo and delay unit that can create some wild sonic effects. On tracks like the driving "Graverobbers" or the guitar-mad "Days of Vapors," the vocals are fed through the machine; elsewhere it just makes random weird and cool noises that add a lot of texture and depth to Comets on Fire's sound. This is a hot and exciting record; the energy never flags and the band never turns anything down much below full volume, even when the tempo is slowed on "Let's Take It All." Garage punk fans would be doing themselves a real favor by checking this disc out. This release on Alternative Tentacles is actually a re-release of the band's ultra-rare first record; as a bonus, the reissue contains 28 minutes of a noisy, energy-packed live show that shows the band to be loud, really loud. And pretty loose, too.

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