Coffinberry – s/t

coffinberry

Coffinberry - s/t

Coffinberry continues to explore its sound, and this time around, it leads to full-on roots rock. Simple, yet distorted, rhythmic chords pervades the group’s self titled debut, while lackadaisical vocals and lazy melodies from frontman Tony Cross sit at home with the down-to-earth instrumentation. Almost none of the band’s previous forays into post-punk are present, giving way to straightforward rock approach, with a dab of twang. Think the Silver Jews without the intricate guitar noodling, and replace David Berman with a less charismatic frontman with a manly afflection. If that correlation worked correctly, you should have envisioned a band with just enough “rock” to stay off the alt-country map, with a lot of down-home approaches, that which are prominent in both the Jews and Coffinberry; the band never gets too poppy or melodic, they don’t revel in indulgent rock n’ roll solos, and they don’t try anything too fancy. And that’s what roots rock is all about. Deertick does some of it, Wilco did it on Sky Blue Sky, the Jews did it, Conor Oberst does a lot of it. So, I hope you kind of see where Coffinberry is going to file itself in your brain’s database.

These dudes seem like honest guys, so I won’t bust their balls too hard. I’ll get the negative stuff out of the way first. Sometimes, and never more prevalent than on “Glassy Shiny Sun,” the melodies come off the track on their lazy sounding monorail, and end up sounding too disjointed. However, “Celebrate the Holy Innocents,” “Monsters,” “The Vapors,” “Long Story Short,” and “Dead Skin Flowers Bloom” are all great tracks, following a rigid roots rock recipe, but they all find a home with a perfectly executed melody. The remaining 8 tracks are all solid works, with something to smile at and something to pick at, all along the way.

It’s difficult to say whether Coffinberry has burrowed itself deeply into this phase, or if this is merely a stop in the ongoing progression this band intends to make. But Coffinberry, regardless of prior efforts or future speculation, is something that has to be analyzed on its own merits. If you’re looking for something new, and are intrigued by some of the genre akin bands I listed, I recommend picking this album up. The great tracks are definitely worth hearing, and the rest of the album is decent enough that you’ll get some enjoyment out of Coffinberry.