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Album Review: Girl in a Coma – Exits and All the Rest

By Caitlin Meyer on October 27th, 2011 in Album Reviews

The past five years have been pretty excellent for Texan rock trio Girl in a Coma, with three albums, rampant critical acclaim, and opening slots for Morrissey, Tegan and Sara, and Sia under their belt. You wouldn’t know this, though, listening to the angry wails of Nina Diaz, the aggressive guitars and drums, and the overall discontented intensity of their fourth LP, Exits and All the Rest. It’s an aesthetic they have nearly perfected at this point, as their unique blend of rock, punk, and considerable Texas influence continues to transcend “girl rock” throughout Exits’ 11 tracks.

From the onset of Exits, Diaz’s vocal performance steals the show. The versatility of her voice – morphing effortlessly from sugary sweet on tracks such as “Smart” to violent growls on “She Had a Plan” – ups the ante for the already impressive sonic variety of the album. The integration of poppy tunes like lead single “Smart” into the mix of punk-leaning aggression simply would not work if it were not for Diaz. The lyrical content proves to be worthy of note, too, as the lovesick ruminations break the audience’s heart and the condemnation of institutionalized racism through immigration laws in “Hope” takes the listener to the front lines. This isn’t to say in the slightest that the other two members are slacking on Exits; sister Phanie Diaz’s percussion and Jenn Alva’s guitar show themselves to be equally dexterous.

The ultimate, resonating strength of this record is its relentlessness. Epitomized by album standout “Cemetery Baby” and its progression from lethargy to pounding drums to Diaz’s cutting line “Who cares?”, Girl in a Coma once again is anything but comatose, adding another compelling record to their catalog and producing the perfect soundtrack for a frustrated drive, fast and far away from home.