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GIRL IN A COMA

Both Before I’m Gone
Blackheart Records

Every now and then an album comes along that just sweeps you off your feet. The melodies are beautiful, the music is creative and there’s a spark of something exciting added to the mix. Girl In A Coma’s debut album, Both Before I’m Gone, is one such album. Packed full of songs that mesmerize with their lush arrangements and Nina Diaz’s haunting voice, it is difficult not to get excited about the music. The three members of the band have been so prolific with writing songs over the six years they’ve been together, that it was a challenge to choose just 13 for the album, and one can imagine that if the other songs were as good as those that made the cut, it had to have been almost impossible to decide.

Opening with “Clumsy Sky” was a clever move as it gives a good sense of Girl In A Coma’s style. A delicate introduction with simple vocals and guitar melody quickly segues into a rollicking verse with a slight rockabilly feel. Nina Diaz’s voice shows its versatility throughout the course of the album, but listeners get an idea of her abilities just in the first track as she moves from softly cooing lines to powerfully soaring over guitar, drums and bass. Likewise, “Say” has a great garage rock feel, high energy and a slightly retro quality. It is the sort of song that would stand up well to a live performance and get the audience on their feet and dancing.

“Road To Home” is one of the most unforgettable songs on Both Before I’m Gone, getting better and more beautiful with each playing. The gentle tempo, uncomplicated drumline by Phanie Diaz and a careful building to the song’s climax all work superbly together. Even if listeners don’t pick up on the basis for the song (it was written about the three girls’ years on the road) it is impossible to deny the loveliness of the ballad.

“I’ll Ask Him” and “Sybil Vane Was Ill” pick up the pace and prevent the collection from slumping after “Road To Home,” a formidable task after such an outstanding song. “Sybil Vane Was Ill” builds up to a great bridge and shows that Nina Diaz is more than just a pretty voice by displaying her skill at the guitar. “Race Car Driver” is reminiscent of old Elastica songs but more melodic and catchy despite the enigmatic lyrics.

Nodding again to music from years past, “Celibate Now” has the gentle rock of a 1950s ballad but with a modern twist. The crunchy guitars and thumping bass line by Jenn Alva make it clear that this isn’t a song to be confused with those from half a century ago. Nina Diaz’s ability to adapt her voice for almost any type of song is impressive and all three musicians seem as comfortable with this type of song as they do on the rock or punk tracks.

Both Before I’m Gone is an amazing album from start to finish and, most unusually, doesn’t have a single disappointing track in the mix. It is the type of album that only takes one run-through before listeners will want to tell all their friends about it. Both Before I’m Gone is outstanding work from a young, but extremely talented threesome. – EVELYN MISKA