Simon Comber: Endearance (CNZ)

 |   |  1 min read

Simon Comber: The Crossroads
Simon Comber: Endearance (CNZ)

Halfway through this slowly engrossing New Zealand singer-songwriter's album is the gently penetrating song Please Elvis, which opens with the singer asking the King not to make his mother cry as she again plays one of his dusty old 45s, but then the song unfurls into a darker and more deep story of family life: "she's twirling a brandy balloon . . . a family will drive you wild, she's just a fading satellite and I'm a grown up only child . . ."

Comber's website here is interesting for his championing of New Zealand poets and he certainly has a literary sensibility in his compressed lyrics and creative narratives: the "grown up only child" mentions "my brother's eyes are filled with pixels, my sister she just shaved off all her hair" on The Jaws of Life so we shouldn't read too much as autobiographical perhaps.

The gentle track Me and Billy T might references the late entertainer, but it's emotional heart is much more sad: there are bedtime prayers of little children, sleeping dogs starting to stir, it being hard to give up somehting you love and "you tell me I can live without you, well I'd like to see you make me try".

Delivered in a high and confident voice - which lacks power in some places it needs to be said -- Comber pulls you into these folk-rock framed acoustic songs, but he astutely punctuates the album with track which bring in drums, bass, electric guitar (and, in the case of the mildly menacing The Crossroads, pump organ).

There are also suggestions of John Martyn's electric guitar style in the long and hypnotic instrumental title track -- and hints of the Clean in a couple of places, including a lyrical reference -- which indicates Comber has given himself plenty of directions in which to move.

Co-produced by Dale Cotton, Endearance -- as with most of the best albums -- doesn't give itself up immediately, but once you start paying attention it rewards handsomely.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Dave's True Story: Simple Twist of Fate (BePop Records)

Dave's True Story: Simple Twist of Fate (BePop Records)

A couple of weeks ago I posted the excellent Drive All Night, the debut solo album by Kelly Flint (see tag) and noted that while she was now in that vague alt.country camp she'd apparently been in... > Read more

Neil Young and Promise of the Real: The Visitor (Warners)

Neil Young and Promise of the Real: The Visitor (Warners)

You have to go a long way back to find a truly great and new – not just a “pretty good” – Neil Young studio album. As Elsewhere has noted, much of his best stuff has been... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Vancouver Island, Canada: Cocktails by the highway

Vancouver Island, Canada: Cocktails by the highway

My Canadian friend Bob would often tell me that there was a highway right outside his house, and then he’d laugh loudly. I didn’t think that was a laughing matter -- until I went to his... > Read more

Various Artists: Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura, The Search Continues (Brownswood/Southbound)

Various Artists: Gilles Peterson presents Havana Cultura, The Search Continues (Brownswood/Southbound)

Although UK DJ Peterson has tripped lightly around the globe to unearth lost classics in bargain bins or to work with local musicians, he has developed an abiding love for Cuban musicians and this... > Read more