The Comet is Coming – The Afterlife

5 out of 5

Label: Impulse!

Produced by: Kristian Craig Robinson

For me, there’s always been a dream of a jazz-fusion band – a fusion of the potential intensity and harmony of jazz with something a little edgier, be it rock or metal – that’s only been temporarily met by albums and acts along the way.  There are plenty of outre bands that add some horns and kick some jazz on top of things, but the main thrust there is generally the guitars; it’s rock first.  The jazz-first blend has alluded me.  That’s not to say it hasn’t existed prior to The Comet is Coming, or that other bands that don’t click for me don’t meet the needs of plenty of other listeners, I just found that I’d be led in by a strong single or concept and find myself awash in plenty of jazz – we love our standards, oh boy – but not so much fusion.

The Comet is Coming arrived in my CD player along similar lines – good reviews, good clips – with the difference thereafter being that they’ve yet to disappoint.  It’s jazz first, absolutely, but the groove and mood or undeniably something Other, taking notes from post-rock and electronic a groove and mixing it up into something deep and soulful and modern.  The Afterlife continues this trend, while also adding to the palette of emotions the group has displayed on prior releases, going for something – fitting to the album’s title – rather somber and contemplative.

Joshua Idehen lends some smart, vital lyrics and driving vocals to opener All That Mattters Is The Moments, which slickly stumbles into its beat and then thrives for its runtime, phasing in to The Softness of the Present, which sets the stage for the disc’s remaining four tracks of exploration: sound experiments which blossom into more tribal beats and soulfulness on the two part Lifeforce; a drone-ish march that organically gives way to a buzzing conclusion on closer The Seven Planetary Heavens; no moment of the disc is without rhythm or feeling, spanning both an experience that can function as soothing or energizing, depending on how you choose to apply it.