Simon Comber: The Right to Talk to Strangers (CPR)

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Simon Comber: Twin Insomniacs
Simon Comber: The Right to Talk to Strangers (CPR)

On singer-songwriter Comber's earlier album Endearance there was an exceptional song, Please Elvis (which you can read about here), and it alerted the listener to the poetic shifts in his lyrics.

This EP confirms Comber's lyrical smarts and in places goes even deeper than that impressive album. His voice sounds more resonant, stronger and deeper in places also -- and that makes for a thoroughly satisfying five songs, but leave you wanting more. Much more.

Recorded in various locations and with producer Tom Healy bringing out the best in these songs by spacious placement of instrumentation around the vocals, this lets Comber's flexing songs take centre-stage.

The engrossing Young and In Love has a gently ringing guitar and simple percussion as Comber sings of tracks being washed away in the shifting sand "but the sunshine shatters that canopy of dreams and the people scatter . . . and it's all immaculate to me, I am young and in love, looking down from above". It feels happy in a sad kind of way.

Here I Go Again has a more folksy feel but opens with "I only want to do it when I know it's gonna hurts like hell" and then gets serious about not walking away from love, even when it seems doomed. Clever arrangement of backing vocals too.

Two Insomniacs is a disturbingly spare piece (and where the album title comes from) and the lean lyrics sketch the shadowy scenario (talking all night and getting more than we bargained for) but the eerie and repetitive guitar part carries as much emotional weight. 

The final track is Tonight the Kids Sleep in the Car (written by Glen Frenzy, his version is here) and -- as with Miriam Clancy's Ghost Town -- takes you to a place you might not want to go to, as the title suggets. As with Comber's writing, Frenzy's suggests more than it says.

This EP is a major step up (and sideways, and down to darker places) for Comber.

As before, he is deserving of your serious attention.

You will want more.

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