January 19, 2014
Premiere: Emerald Comets | Emerald Comets EP
Only last week we made a sidelong reference to how remarkably prolific a songwriter is Reuben Bettsak, who Clicky Clicky readers know well as a guitarist and singer in Boston psych-pop quintet Guillermo Sexo, as well as a member of nu-New Romantic collective Future Carnivores. Reflecting upon that assessment now, we realize it wasn't the first time we've noted it in these electronic pages; indeed, we said as much in our review of Guillermo Sexo's best-of-2013 long-player Dark Spring. We also mentioned in that review the steady stream of solo demos Mr. Bettsak posts online, and we are pleased to bring you certain select fruits of his solo endeavors. Today marks the release of a self-titled EP from Emerald Comets, the name Bettsak has bestowed upon his solo work (or at least this solo work). The name, incidentally, comes from this totally raging Guillermo Sexo song that was used as part of last year's Allston Pudding One Fund benefit comp.
The four-song collection is a more stripped-down affair, and it rests more firmly on acoustic guitar than much of Guillermo Sexo's work. Not that this is in anyway stereotypical coffeehouse singer-songwriter crap. Far from it: the floating vibe, psychedelic imagery and tight arrangements fans are familiar with are all here on the opening cut, "Bronze Feathers." And Mr. Bettsak is not swinging in the breeze by his lonesome here: along for the ride are associate Ryan Lee Crosby on second guitar and backing vocals; Guillermo Sexo/Hallelujah The Hills drummer Ryan Connelly; and Future Carnivores' Bo Barringer on bass guitar. Emerald Comets was recorded at the home of Mr. Crosby on his eight-track machine, and it is the second track, the EP highlight "Ghost Slides," where we first start to get a distinctly different flavor from this combo, as the tune touts a folksy bounce and, by way of percussion, a clattering tambourine to serve as rhythmic parameters. The song is terrifically catchy and light. The ensuing cut "Suitcase Of Ashes" is looser, moodier and more dense, and nods affirmatively toward the mystical English folk influences that crop up now and again in Guillermo Sexo's work. The tune nicely sets up the closer "Arctic Matchsticks," which is perhaps the most conventionally rocking of those on Emerald Comets, as it is driven by cracking snare hits, layered with acoustic and electric guitars, briskly paced and compactly structured.
If there is a revelation here, it is that Emerald Comets is yet further evidence of the very giving muse that sparks Bettsak's creativity. While it necessarily has to take a backseat to continuing to play shows to support the release of Dark Spring with Guillermo Sexo, Bettsak intends to play more shows under the Emerald Comets banner, potentially with the lineup that recorded this first EP. He also aims to record additional EPs and seek out additional collaborators. But for now let's let the guy catch his breath for a second; go download Emerald Comets for free via the embed below. Emerald Comets: Bandcamp