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Girl in a Coma comes alive
By Alan Sculley
Special to the Caller-Times
Friday, May 29, 2009

CORPUS CHRISTI — If ever a band deserved some slack for its youth when it first came on the national music scene, it would be San Antonio’s Girl In A Coma.

Nina Diaz, the group’s songwriter, leader singer and guitarist, was 19 when the band’s first CD, “Both Before I’m Gone,” was released. Many of her songs had been written when she was younger than that.

The band, which also includes Diaz’s older sister Phanie (drums) and Jenn Alva (bass), plays House of Rock on Thursday.

Still, the promising debut featured a killer single in the rocking “Clumsy Sky.” Other punky songs such as “Say,” “In The Background” and “Mr. Chivalry,” if a bit rough around the edges, had multi-faceted dimensions that suggested Girl In A Coma was only beginning to find its feet musically.

And now with the release of the second Girl In A Coma CD, “Trio B.C.,” the promise of the first CD was no illusion. Diaz has absorbed new musical influences (Sonic Youth and ‘90s alternative rock among them), and growth in her songwriting makes for an album that suggests Girl will be a force on the modern rock scene for years to come.

“The first album was songs I wrote from 13 to 18, so that’s a lot of time and experiences and growing up and messing up and fixing things,” she said.

“I wanted to really listen to what I was doing and let it flow and find beauty in other music around and all types of music and incorporate it somehow into what I was writing and somehow turn it into something new.”

“Trio B.C.” has songs (such as “Static Mind” and “Joannie In The City”) that live up to both the style and the standard set by “Clumsy Sky.” But it is also a more diverse and ambitious effort. “Slaughter Lane” has a rockabilly kick, while the band’s pop instincts shine in songs like the tart and catchy “Empty Promise” and the shimmering “In The Day,” the latter of which has a bit of an R&B tinge in its peppy tempo. Overall, the playing is considerably more polished and tight.

Diaz is pleased to have a second album of material to mix in with the group’s earlier songs in its live show and said Girl’s music has grown tighter on stage.

“I definitely think we’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with ourselves and with our instruments,” she said. “So it definitely shows on stage.”