Réalistes sounds like the aural equivalent of a herky-jerk tube ride across London, with clattering, garage-like tunes rollicking along before going underground for a sobering mind-the-gap ballad along the way. The album continues Comet Gain's torrid union of mod punk/soul-pop and garage-indie revisionism. Leader David Feck -- an homage to Dennis Hopper's "check's in the mail" character from The River's Edge perhaps? -- is now the only mainstay since the group formed in 1993. During the rest of the '90s, they were practically the house band at various clubs and, in some respects, not much has changed since then; in fact, the tambourine-and-Hammond-organ-powered "The Kids at the Club" could be the council pub set's next anthem, perfect for a sweat-soaked, hip-shakin' night on the tiles. "Movies," with its recurring boy-girl chorus ("Will you take me to the movies?/I'm feeling groovy"), is going to be a go-go charmer. On the title track, Feck sneers like an atonal Mark E. Smith of the Fall, while those up-the-neck pick-slides might have been ripped from any one of the Jam's better A-sides, circa 1978. Here and there, Réalistes might have benefited from another mixing session. "Don't Fall in Love if You Want to Die in Peace" is one example where the VU-meter spikes into the red, but somehow its weird tangle of swirly organ, echoey vocals, and over-modulated acoustic guitar fits the disc's purposefully ramshackle production by new drummer/"sound guru genius" M.J. "Woody" Taylor. Features guest appearances by Christopher Appelgren (of the Pattern/the PeeChees) on drums, Peter Momtchiloff (lap steel on "Carry on Living"), Anthony Miller (brass arrangement on "Labour"), Kathleen Hanna (Le Tigre, ex-Bikini Kill) contributing venomous riot grrrl vocals on "Ripped-Up Suit!," and the Aislers Set (handclaps).
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bryan Thomas
feat: Peter Momtchiloff
feat: Kathleen Hanna
feat: Anthony Miller