After almost three decades as the face of Comet Gain, David Christian strikes out solo, aiming to brush aside a bit of the cheekiness of the Gain and embrace earnestness. Decamping to the South of France, never a bad move on anyone’s part, Christian gathered up a cadre of comrades from his orbit: James Horsey and Alasdair MacLean (The Clientele), Ben Phillipson (18th Day Of May/Trimdon Grange Explosion/Comet Gain), Gerry Love (Teenage Fan Club), Anne-Laure Guillain (Comet Gain/Cinema Red And Blue) and Joe-Harvey Whyte (Hanging Stars). The record’s aim is honesty, with David enforcing a few restrictions on himself to try to wring truth while not emulating any heroes wholesale, though there’s a feeling of The Jacobites, Robyn Hitchcock, and John Cale. Christian has always had a way with alternating personas in Comet Gain — he’s tender one moment, flippant the next, but on For Those We Met On The Way, he’s flipping through the negatives of life with nothing but lived-in sincerity.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Paperback Ghosts, Comet Gain’s blushingly tender 2014 album and though this album divorces him as much as possible from his lifelong tether to the band, this record seems like a kindred spirit to Ghosts. While the former record is steeped in love songs, his solo work is dipped in nostalgia — autobiographical without revealing too much. Christian notes, “We all choose who we get haunted by. We keep our phantoms fed.” That seems to be the crux of the album right there. These are David’s ghosts, or at least the ones he wants around. David revels in the decadence here, the late night wine-wheeled spin of tales. It’s a comforting album, personal yes, but not solitary. Christian might be solo but hermitage was never his style. Might as well pull up to the firelight glow and hear a tale, try to spot the sins and balk at the bluffs.
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