Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Album Review: Comadre's Self-Titled

Whatever you want to call it, "Screamo," in its more traditional sound, is beginning to slowly rebuild its tattered image which many would attribute to the misnomering during the mid-2000s. Bands like Birds in Row, Suis La Lune, Single Mothers, and Loma Prieta focus more on musicality, ingenuity, and most importantly avoiding trends. Comadre started in 2004, right around the time where Screamo saw its bifurcation, though, admittedly, this is my first time seriously listening to the band. I checked out some of the band's previous releases, wasn't blown away, but got a better feel for where the band was coming from. Comadre's latest album, self-titled, exemplifies just how the band has been able to thrive, evolving in the most concentrated area of this Screamo revival, the San Francisco Bay Area.

What Comadre does for this band's discography should never be burdened with "Their earlier records are better," which is always the most juvenile thing anyone can say about a band from a distinct geographical sound and faithful fan base -- look at the divide Ceremony's Zoo inspired, despite clearly being a solid transitional record. The arrangements on this album are not entirely new to the genre but surprising in their efficacy, including a variety of keys, acoustic guitar, and trumpet - the last instrument eliciting Suis La Lune comparisons, "Drag Blood" being the obvious example. They do pretty much everything right on this record, rarely failing to do these instrumental forays justice. 

There is something to be said about the production of this album: it's very specific to the record. I couldn't find a version of this record without some apparent crackle and static on it, which ends up serving as sort of a bloody patina, magnifying the rough and tough sound of the band. Comadre was recorded entirely by the band, backed up by Vitriol. Some instruments peak, yet never sound out of place or like a mistake. By controlling recording, Comadre is able to watermark their sound, which gains more and more importance as the Age of Information proliferates copycat bands everywhere. Comadre furthers Screamo's reappropriation by offering the true voice of a band, one unfiltered. 

And while pretty much every song, and its placement, on Comadre is a win, there is one glaring flaw in the record: the last song doesn't close the record strongly enough. "Date Night", the album's last track, begins like a slow-building closer normally would, progresses into a stomper, but then its finale doesn't run with the momentum the rest of the record grants it. The last section of the song could have lasted another couple measures, taking a victory lap for the rest of Comadre. This record could have easily ended with "Binge" and its sampled piece of nostalgia. Although this is only one song, the opener and closer are often the two strongest, most important songs on an album. One could argue this reinvents how records are constructed, but having a weak closer leaves a bad taste in the mouth, with no exceptions.

Final Grade: B+

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