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The Comas
A Def Needle In Tomorrow
Plastique Recording Co./Yep Roc Records

Oh, the jokes I could make if this album stunk. "The Comas? Yeah, this album put me into one!" But the fact of the matter is, A Def Needle In Tomorrow, does nothing to deserve such a cruel remark.

Wearing the Chapel Hill badge on their sleeves, The Comas create a quirky and catchy brand of psychedelic-laced shoegazer pop. The uniqueness of this two-girls-and-two-guys combo comes in the textures, not just in the male and female vocal possibilities, but also in the fact that aside from the standard drums, bass and guitars, there are also violins, keyboards, samples, and even a touch of turntable work from drummer John Harrison. Others drop by to help out with trumpet, banjo and additional guitar as well, rounding out the already lush sound.

From quiet lullabies, to bouncy pop numbers and everything in between, The Comas are consistently clever and charming, so much so that it would be hard not to enjoy at least a few songs from this album. The band drifts a little from time to time, allowing its slowcore side to sneak in and take over for a moment, giving the point of the song a chance to escape, and the songs often just fade away, rather than come to an actual end, but it all seems to work, for the most part. "Arena" may not grab you right away as the opener, but "Tiger In A Tower" makes the ears perk up a little more. Then comes "Wicked Elm", rocking harder and with a lower production quality than the others, but it is thankfully countered by the gentle and lovely "All Over The School." Things go on this way for the remainder of the album, raising your hopes with one track, and lowering them a bit with the next. Tracks like "Sweet Sweet 69" are definite highlights.

This is obviously a band trying to find its own style, as The Comas often come off sounding a little too much like their influences (Superchunk quickly comes to mind). This is an album full of ups and downs, and is one that occasionally gives the feeling of what should have been a really good EP, but was instead stretched out to fill a full-length album. So although no new ground may have been broken here, the few glimpses at brilliance lead us to believe this is a band capable of something great.

Eddie Fournier

Track Listing:

  1. Arena
  2. Tiger In A Tower
  3. Wicked Elm
  4. All Over The School
  5. Rancor
  6. Sweet Sweet 69
  7. Tired
  8. Sister Brewerton
  9. Centipedes
  10. Free Burritos
  11. Pa Mac

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