Simon Comber – The Right To Talk To Strangers (Carpathian) CD Review

Comber is one of NZ’s most endearing singer-songwriters, and here’s his new, five-song EP, which provides solid evidence that the development of his craft is moving faster than release schedules can represent.
‘New Day’, musically, is the best evidence of this; it’s a genuine pop song, with real drums and synthesisers and a melody you could almost sing. It’s even an iPhone app, for goodness sake.
‘Young And In Love’ is a nice strum that perfectly balances the poignancy of the experience of falling head over heels with a reflection of sarcasm.
‘Here I Go Again’ is another love song, of sorts, a close-up and somewhat pragmatic admission of extended immersion, with a lost-in-womb-liquid section that reflects the deep drift.
‘Twin Insomniacs’ is a piece of nearly instrumental dirge-rock with a slightly nightmarish feel. You can imagine two estranged lovers wriggling unhappily beside each other through a long night/torment of the soul.
Finally, a cover supposedly by G. Frenzy, ‘Tonight The Kids Sleep In The Car’, the simplest and most carefree of songs on the EP.
Comber’s voice isn’t what you would call a virtuosic instrument, and comes perilously close to off notes at times, but he makes the most of his limitations, turning the humdrum into a thing of beauty and candid expression. His music, similarly, could easily succumb to the perils of jangle folk/pop, but never does, due to the transformative effect of studio graft. Best of all are his lyrics, which aren’t complex, but are incisive and insightful. Oh, and sharp. GARY STEEL
Sound = 3.5
Music = 4

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