Comets on Fire: Blue Cathedral

[29 August 2004]

By Jon Goff

The press release concerning Blue Cathedral, the latest release from Comets on Fire, refers to the band as the “flag bearers of modern psychedelia”, but I don’t consider that statement to be correct. The Comets’ music is far too primeval and terrifying to be considered in any way modern. It’s more like you and your other geek stoner friends scored some really strong acid and started bragging all over town that you got some primo shit that’ll make even the most seasoned cats flip their lids.

But the problem is that one of your buddies, Tommy, works with a couple of shady dudes down at Bennie’s and those dudes just happen to know some real, real shady dudes who would love to have some mighty strong acid to brag about all over town. And one night they just happen to follow Tommy over to your house and that night just happens to be the night that you guys planned to take a little trip. So they wait two or three hours until you guys are really dosed. You’ve got the bongos and the acoustic out.

Doug and Shelby are out in the yard talking about some deep shit by the pool and just when you start settling into a nice stare at an old videotape copy of Yellow Submarine, five guys bust down your backdoor with the butt of a shotgun and start screaming at you to get on the fuckin’ floor. But the guy’s voice ain’t right, there’s something horrifying about it. It echoes, but not in a deep canyon kinda way. It bounces off the walls and shatters the mirrors and holes up in the bathroom. But it’s not just the voice, it’s everything.

These guys travel in a wall of sound. Every footstep seems like it’s going to shake the house off its foundation. Their arms and legs flail wildly. The movements cut through the air in shrieking assaults of feedback. You want out. But they’ve got you down on your belly and tied up. They’re laughing at you when the guy with the shotgun tells everybody to shut up. And for a second it’s quiet while they make themselves comfortable on your couch. They thank you kindly for the acid and start screwing around on the bongos.

They’re skronkin’ away on some twisted Jerry licks, but they get bored after a few minutes and decide to take a ride. Since Tommy ran away a long time ago, they pick you up by your bound arms and legs and throw you in the trunk. They’re racing through town, screaming at the top of their lungs. The stereo is all the way up. You can smell the pot and every now and again you hear breaking glass as they toss a beer bottle out the window at a stop sign. The rusted out tailpipe emits a low, chugging rumble and the trunk is starting to fill up with exhaust. The fumes make it seem like everything is happening in half time. You start to get woozy. You wish you could pass out but you can’t because the car just stopped and they’ve got you by your arms and legs again.

They throw you down in a field behind a crappy trailer and start running around like madmen. One of the guys comes out from the trailer with an old rocking chair and busts it up with an axe. At this point you’re pretty sure that the guy with the axe is coming for you next, but instead he douses granny’s old rocker with lighter fluid. Once it’s lit everyone goes ape shit. Whole trees are getting drug out of the woods to feed the flames and soon the clothes are coming off. Once the bonfire is judged up to be up to snuff, they start circling. Around and around they go still screaming, still thundering and traveling in feedback swells. The echoes drift into the stratosphere and mix with the smoke from the now raging fire. All you can do is listen and hope they let you go when they’re done with you. But it’s kinda fucked up because you don’t even know they want you here in the first place.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/cometsonfire-blue/