Kinnikinnik; Release date: July 24, 2011
THE DEAL: Charlotte indie-rock outfit Coma League releases its first full-length album.
THE GOOD: Forget what you may know about Coma League based on the band's last effort. This 11-track album creates more atmospheric soundscapes, burying the vocals inside of looping drum fills and fuzzed-out guitars. Main Coma League participant Ben Gelnett gets help on harmonies and vocals from Brain F's Elise Anderson, while contributions also exist from Tony Chen, Cooper Sanchez, Bruce Defrees and Daniel Davis. From the shoe-gaze kickoff of "Says You" to the electronic infusion of "Sista Nancy," from the atmospheric meltdown of "Can We Get Your Dad's Van" to the folk style of "Were Golden," Coma League's latest is a conglomerate of dysfunctional styles that somehow all work well together.
THE BAD: The band won over the critics here with the release of its debut EP back in 2009, taking home a Best of Charlotte award for Best New Band of the last 12 months that year. What's bad about that? Nothing. But if you're expecting more of the same charming indie-rock style that was on This Could Be The Night, you should look elsewhere.
THE VERDICT: Label this one as "the new" Coma League. It's more muddled than its predecessor while it faithfully charges forward into uncharted territory. There are a handful of standouts here, but I can't help but wonder what's happened in the last two years.
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