One of my all time favorite artists, Jenny Holzer, once wrote, “People are boring unless they’re extremists.” In the case of Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Comas, it’s the truth. Though each song on Conductor, the band’s latest, has a little bit of variance to it, the album, on the whole, sounds the same, rendering it completely forgettable.
Some songs have heavier guitar distortion. Some are soft, with simpler musical arrangements. Others have faster beats and a couple have a poppish radio-friendly vibe. It’s just not enough to break through with a real strong impression. Soon after I listened to Conductor, I had forgotten that it was even playing.
Conductor sounds most like lullaby chanting — nice, soothing and dreamy at first, but the songs tend to veer into a direction that makes you tune out. And you’re left wondering, `what’s the point of listening to the album at all?’ Yet the way the album was conceived is intriguing enough on its own. It’s essentially inspired by the break-up between one of the band members and his longtime girlfriend. The album is a tribute and the physical catharsis of losing a part of your identity and your existence.
Reading liner notes and learning stories of how songs and albums come to be always spark my interest. Sometimes as a result I grow to love the song or album even more. But, in the unfortunate case of The Comas’ Conductor, it just made me compare it to the lengthy catalogue of the best of the best break up albums or break up songs I have ever heard. Consequently, none of the songs on Conductor could fit into that category.
This leaves me to ask one final question: can you live without this album? Physiologically, yes. Emotionally, yes. Unconsciously, yes.
Mazzy Star – So Tonight That I Might See
Luna – Penthouse
The Legends – Up Against the Legends