The Comas – Conductor

The Comas

Written in the winter of 2003 by Andy Herod (vocals, guitar, synthesizer), while holed up in an empty beach house on the North Carolina coast, the Chapel Hill, NC band went into the Sound Of Music studios in Richmond, VA. and came out with Conductor, an exemplar collection of infectious indie-rock gems. On the Comas’ third release, second for Yep Roc Records, the swirling synths provide the perfect atmosphere for the crisp melodies and the edgy, sometimes powerful, always dazzling guitar work. The vocal harmonies are engaging and add punch to the music.

In each song, the rhythm section of Justin Williams (bass) and Cameron Weeks (drums, percussion) seamlessly provide the bridge from familiar emo melodies to exotic, charming places and back again. Alan Weatherhead (pedal steel guitar) provides production to perfection by adding reverb, echo, and multi-tracking to the vocals of Nicole Gehweiler (guitar) and Herod, always in the right proportion. Herod’s lyrics are ripe with heartache and biting commentary blending with the music, creating pleasantly bittersweet tunes.

While the soaring guitars provide the thrust behind most of the songs, the vocals supply the hooks on “The Last Transmission” and “Hologram,” the latter a short, simple, flawless rock-out. The Comas employ a variety of styles and instruments including mellow pedal steel guitar, acoustic strumming, and driving rhythms, sometimes sounding like the Flaming Lips with a shot of adrenaline. The last track, “This Commercail” shows these folks are not afraid to experiment with ambient drones before exploding into an all-out sonic assault.

On first listen, Conductor will seem strangely familiar but unusual enough to want to hear it again. Then, after repeated listens, each song will have worked it’s way into those aural pleasure crevices in your brain and you will have to play the disc over and over!