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Comedy Of Errors: Spirit

Glaswegian prog meditation on hope and despair.

Comedy Of Errors have been going, in one form or another, for three decades, but their fourth album has the freshness and vitality of a debut.

It couldn’t be more prog: the first 10 tracks are part of a larger, 45-minute piece called Spirit, comprising titles such as In Darkness Let Me Dwell and the multipartite Ascension/Et Resurrextit/Auferstehen/Arise In Love Sublime, Arise/Spirit, and is followed by a 10-minute Epilogue. Note the Latinate language with biblical overtones – there’s a choral feel to much of this music, with a concomitant aura of gothic grandeur. Set Your Spirit Free/Goodbye My Love Until We Meet Again is as elegiacal as it is ecclesiastical, while Joe Cairney’s voice is choirboy high. Combine that with the super-technoid playing of bassist John Fitzgerald, guitarists Sam McCulloch and Mark Spalding, and drummer Bruce Levick, underpinning Jim Johnston’s keyboard washes, and the results recall late-70s prog (Going For The One-era Yes, War Of The Worlds). It’s instrumentally impressive, sophisticated symphonic pomp-pop dealing with themes of grief, loss and hope, switching between the solemn, the searing and the celestial, often within the same song.

Paul Lester
Paul Lester

Paul Lester is the editor of Record Collector. He began freelancing for Melody Maker in the late 80s, and was later made Features Editor. He was a member of the team that launched Uncut Magazine, where he became Deputy Editor. In 2006 he went freelance again and has written for The Guardian, The Times, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph, Classic Rock, Q and the Jewish Chronicle. He has also written books on Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Bjork, The Verve, Gang Of Four, Wire, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, the Spice Girls, and Pink.