As a swansong, Fei Comodo could not have picked a more suitable title than ‘Behind the Bright Lights’ for their second LP. The Chelmsford five-piece have reached the end of their decade-long career perhaps somewhat dismayed at the industry they have called home.
On ‘No Way Out’ they declare that they are continuously crawling through identical rubble dealing with “poison from their own destruction”, while on ‘A Different World’ the band seemingly attack the falsities and fickle nature of fame. Most tellingly Fei Comodo announce on the title track-of-sorts that the high life does not exist behind the bright lights after all.
In this sense, ‘Behind the Bright Lights’ is an album with two agendas. On one hand this is a band sharing their experiences of the last ten years with the audience, while on the other they are determined to exit with a bang; a success when considering the sheer brilliance of this record. The album is assuredly the most accomplished music Fei Comodo have released in their relatively short lifetime. Despite verging on the overly theatrical, there are moments of excellence which pull the record back from the edge of the ridiculous. The band have managed to generate a massive sound which feels genuinely unique by developing the melodramatic into something equally as credible.
Throughout the twelve tracks on offer, the record twists and turns through countless genres. At any moment the sound pulls influences from traditional metalcore, classic rock, shredding guitars and orchestral atmospherics. ‘Behind The Bright Lights’ is deliberately schizophrenic and thus forces the listener to engage in the record. This is not a background album, but rather an assaulting melodrama that enthralls from start to finish.
Equally as vital is the ominous undertone of the record such as the ceremonious ‘The Air is Cold Tonight’ or the haunting opening track ‘The Night Falls’. Fei Comodo hide the frustration and angst behind a veil of unconventionally forceful instrumentation, allowing it to creep through just enough to influence the tone of the album. Without becoming too clichÃƒ©d or reverting back to an immature form of the band, the foreboding adds a second layer to a style that does risk complacency. Similarly, the more selective heavy moments (see: ‘A Man Left Behind’ and ‘Walk with Me’) and the well-placed ballad (‘On The Road’) add an air of sophistication to the album structure.
‘Behind the Bright Lights’ continues down the path laid out by the band throughout their back catalogue. It is not a huge step forward, but it certainly pushes the formula into the spectacular. The dramatic nature of the record may distract from the home-grown reputation that has followed Fei Comodo, but that largely appears to be the purpose. This is a huge record built on lyrics filled with despair and frustration; a juxtaposition that is handled at an expert level. The album may have not existed if it were not for the demise of the band, nevertheless – on the back of this release – it remains an undeniable shame to see them part ways.
Reviewer: Ben Tipple