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The Comas, "A Def Needle In Tomorrow"

For a while in the early to mid nineties, Chapel Hill, NC, was beingtouted as the new Seattle. In the Raleigh-Chapel Hill areas, fifteenminutes apart at the most, there co-existed some twenty-five bands, allof which wrote their own brand of energetic pop-based music. Some werethe flagships for their particular brand of music (Squirrel Nut Zippersfor hot jazz, Whiskeytown for "alt-country," etc.). Others weretrendsetters with no real brand to speak of (Ben Folds Five, Archers ofLoaf). Still others were just a reaction to what was going on aroundthem at the time. The Comas formed as a joke, hoping to make music thatmade fun of the alt-country scene. When they realized they might havesomething that could work better than the joke they had in mind, theystuck with it. "A Def Needle In Tomorrow," their second album, is apure pop treasure. Don't expect to bounce around at their music,however. This is laid-back thinker's pop. The melodies are gorgeous,the songs lush and expansive (producer Brian Paulson is to be thankedfor this, I'm sure), and the lyrics are more fun than a barrel full ofemo bands (pun intended, but probably not achieved). On "Arena," thealbum opener, guitarist/vocalist Andrew Herod sings of Princess Leiaand fastest ships, and on "Tiger in a Tower" he works "Pissing on aplastic flower" into the rhyme scheme. The vocal harmonies are what ismost interesting about The Comas, and this release in particular, asHerod, bassist Margaret White and second guitarist Nicole Gehweilersound wonderful together. Little flourishes here and there add to thesound, as no band member plays just one instrument and drummer JohnHarrison works in samples and turntable work. Lagniappe ("a littlesomething extra") seems to be the order of the day, as there's even avideo for album track "Sister Brewerton" on the CD. Overall, a fine poprecord that proves The Comas trendsetters in their own right.