Led by guitarist and vocalist David Feck (aka David Bower and David Christian), Comet Gain are a British indie pop band whose music is a freewheeling, literate fusion of folk-rock, twee pop, garage rock, R&B, punk, and any number of points in between. The first edition of Comet Gain was formed in 1992; Feck initially conceived the group as a trio with bassist George Wright and drummer Phil Sutton, but the band truly found its sound the following year, when Jax Coombes replaced Wright on bass and singer Sarah Bleach and guitarist Sam Pluck came on board. This lineup recorded the group's debut album, 1995's Casino Classics, which was released by the U.K. indie label Wiija.
In 1997, Wiija issued Comet Gain's second album in Great Britain under the title Magnetic Poetry, while it came out in the United States via Beggars Banquet in expanded form as Sneaky. However, months after the sophomore album arrived in stores, Feck's bandmates walked out on him, and he assembled a new version of Comet Gain from scratch, featuring Rachel Evans as female vocalist, M.J. "Woodie" Taylor on drums, and former Huggy Bear member Jon Slade on guitar and bass. The new version of Comet Gain cut the 1999 album Tigertown Pictures, which was released by Kill Rock Stars in America and Fortuna Pop in the U.K.
While Evans, Taylor, and Slade (and bassist Kay Ishikawa) have frequently played with Comet Gain since, Feck remains the only constant from the band's many personnel changes, and in a 2009 interview he claimed that 66 different people have been members of Comet Gain since the group's formation. Comet Gain's relationship with Kill Rock Stars resulted in two more albums, 2002's Realistes and 2005's City Fallen Leaves, while in 2008 Feck assembled Broken Record Prayers, a 20-song compilation drawn from the group's many single releases and compilation appearances.
Their sixth album, 2011's Howl of the Lonely Crowd, featured new keyboardist Anne Laure Guillain and found Comet Gain receiving some production assistance from one of their heroes, ex-Orange Juice leader Edwyn Collins. After that record, the band lost longtime members Ishikawa (in 2011) and Slade (in 2012), replacing them with Ben Phillipson on guitar and ex-Clientele member James Hornsey on bass. The new band returned in 2013 with the "Avenue Girls" single, before releasing its seventh album, the relatively quiet and autumnal Paperback Ghosts, in the early summer of 2014 on the Fortuna Pop label. Some of the tracks recorded during the Paperback Ghosts session that didn't quite fit the mood ended up on the Fingerprint Ritual EP in early 2015. ~ Mark Deming