Review: Girl in a Coma – Both Before I Die

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Label: Blackheart Records

Released: May 15, 2007

Being a female band on Blackheart Records, the expectation would be that Girl in a Coma would follow in Joan Jett’s footsteps. Unlike so many of Jett’s followers though, Girl in a Coma didn’t forget that attitude and hooks aren’t mutually exclusive. Besides, they’re a lot closer to Blondie’s edgey punkish pop than to Jett’s rather mundane punkish hard rock.

Girl in a Coma have more in common with Blondie or Concrete Blonde even than Jett. Like the former, they capture that same breathy sultriness and show that it can happen without coming across as weak or fragile. They also share Johnette Naploitano’s ability to be touching yet dark. There is an unmistakable punk element on Both Before I Die, but unlike most pop-punk of today, these songs have deeper hooks that feel like more than just a facade. “Their Cell” taps into the early 60s girl group sound, yet extends well beyond the two minute pop song enough to exude a dark inner toughness that is the core of why the album is believable.

Girl in a Coma mixes gritty, raw richness with an abrasive edge that finds that happy (or not so happy) middle ground between punk and polish. Their mix of punk’s angry aesthetic with pop accessibility rings truer than most in that same game these days.

Satriani: 5/10
Zappa: 5/10
Dylan: 7/10
Aretha: 7/10
Overall: 7/10



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About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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