‘Lesser Stars’ is the debut album from Herriot Row, the musical moniker of Auckland singer-songwriter Simon Comber.
Comber and band are taking their alternate guitar-tuned, lyrical brand of folk-rock on the road to celebrate.
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‘Lesser Stars’ was recorded in San Francisco with revered analogue producer John Vanderslice, known for his work with the Mountain Goats and Spoon.
Having previously released two albums (Pre-Pill Love, Endearance) and an E.P (The Right To Talk To Strangers) under his own name, Comber’s concise, articulate lyrical observations and use of alternate guitar tunings have drawn comparisons to such acclaimed artists as Bill Callahan, Joni Mitchell and Don McGlashan.
Alongside his releases, Comber has built up a reputation for captivating live performances, leading to a national tour with The Chills, Australian shows supporting The Verlaines, and a tour of America with indie rock icon Barbara Manning. For the last three years Comber has gone from strength to strength playing with a band, accompanied by by Stu Harwood (Anthonie Tonnon band) on drums and Dave Flyger (Paquin) on bass when appearing as Herriot Row.
Lesser Stars finds Comber setting a wide range of poetic narratives to a vulnerable analogue recording aesthetic. ‘Learning Not To Talk’ captures a minor epiphany in which the narrator realises the intimacy of shared silence. ‘The Usual Business’ does a 180-degree turn about and beyond the city at twilight, peeking into the lives of preachers, prisoners, sailors, singers and more. The haunting chorus of new single ‘Out Of The Ordinary’ suggests that if you’re struggling to dream outside the frame of your everyday routine, then you’re not the only one. This isn’t enough solace for the singer, who’s still yearning for some form of re-enchantment right to the bittersweet end of the song. ‘The Beggar’ follows the ghost of New Zealand poet RAK Mason out to the edge of Auckland’s Queens Wharf.
John Vanderslice’s defiantly straight-to-tape production brings the new album closer to the warmth and fragility of Herriot Row’s compelling live shows, ensuring Lesser Stars is the most fully realised set of songs Comber has yet offered up.