' . . .but here's someone who really deserves the "singer/songwriter" title, because he does both close to perfection.' Nick Bollinger, RNZ
'His debut as Herriot Row . . . confirms our belief that he is one of our finest singer-songwriters.' Graham Reid, Elsewhere
Lesser Stars is the debut album from Herriot Row, the new musical moniker of Auckland singer-songwriter Simon Comber. The album was recorded in San Francisco with revered analogue producer John Vanderslice, known for his work with the Mountain Goats and Spoon.
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.
released September 1, 2017
Simon Comber: vocals, guitars, piano on The Older Brother Says Goodbye
Rob Shelton: piano, synths
Andrew Maguire: percussion, vibraphone, drums
John Vanderslice: moog on The Older Brother Says Goodbye; synth whitewash on Farewell Spit
Recorded June 30 – July 6, 2014 at Tiny Telephone Studios
San Francisco, CA
Produced and engineered by John Vanderslice
Mastered at Chicago Mastering Service by Bob Weston
Art layout and design: Tomas Cottle, Taarati Taiaroa
Fontspiration: Lena Sheridan
Live: Stuart Harwood, David Flyger, Barney Chunn
Practice pads: Edward Castelow, Thomas Healy
Vinyl realisation: Rohan Evans - Arcade Recordings
Lesser Stars was made with financial assistance from Creative New Zealand. The song Neon Lights adapts lines from the Robin Hyde poem of the same name. Learning Not To Talk was written for Katherine Robertson. I hope you like how it finally turned out. The Beggar goes out to Ron Mason.