Thursday, November 26, 2009

CoCoComa "Things Are Not All Right" (Goner) "Ask Don't Tell" b/w "The Anchor" (Trouble In Mind)

Halloween 2008 CoCOComa played what I foolishly thought was their last show, as bassist/keyboardist Mike Fitzpatrick already had his bags packed to leave town. But apparently the band eked out some recordings before Fitzpatrick took off, and while power couple Lisa and Bill Roe (guitar and drum, respectively) took a maternity leave from rock 'n' roll, they were secretly doing some kind of anti-Brian Wilson magic on these tapes, somehow layering on a year of post-production to make their tracks sound more raw and spare. A huge step forward from their 2007 debut, this hard driving gem somehow presents infectious hook after infectious hook without ever falling into the powerpop/pop punk ghetto. This is in great part because the band never sounds like they are pretending to be teenagers. Bill's nasal-free vocals, with phrasing and timbre falling somewhere between David Byrne and Johnny Thunders, sound thoroughly grown up. And Lisa's chunky bursts of classic punk guitar solos, and the layers of ragged but right backup harmonies, are clearly the products of adult musicians with seasoned record collections. This is definitely a disc you can play seven zillion times and never get sick of. While the classic Fitzpatrick-lineup of the band followed the Chicago garage rock tradition of members looking like they should be drinking Old Style on third base at a neighborhood 16-inch softball game, CoCoComa has embraced the post-Smith-Westerns local landscape by recruiting a couple of Tiger Beat-pinups to round out the lineup. Bassist Tyler Brock and guitarist/organ player Anthony Cozzi debut on the band's self-released single (the launch of their new 45 label) and the quartet manages to pack 50 years of garage rock history in five minutes or so, invoking the Dolls, the Hollies, the Sonics, Sun Records, Estrus Records, and throwing up, while laughing, by the dumpster behind the Empty Bottle.

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