Comadre - Comadre
Record Label: Vitriol Records
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Do you know Comadre? Before attending Fest 11 this past October, I really didn’t. However, their energetic stage performance, coupled with my liking to the track “Cold Rain”, caused me to be quite frantic in getting my hands on whatever music I could get from these guys. To our collective benefit, the band is back per se with self-titled effort which they tracked to two-inch tape and in the liner notes say doesn’t contain any artificial reverb. Regardless, Comadre sounds like a band I should have been listening to years ago, as their passion for crafting powerful, but thoughtful musical ideas is something that is sure to keep this record in heavy rotation for quite some time.
In twelve tracks that compile to just shy of a half-hour in running time, Comadre makes some pretty strong statements musically while sticking to a pretty strong core of sharp guitars and a pushing rhythm section to house the mid-to-low vocal rasp that frontman Juan Gabe controls with a certain degree of marked confidence. At first listen, the melodic swings of “Color Blind” and “Summercide” will grab your ear without hesitation, as the punching guitar hits and bouncing keys make for some of the more accessible but still wildly enjoyable cuts of the bunch. Such melodic ideas can sometimes drive an entire track, while at other points can only be harnessed in certain sections or to a certain degree – “Must Be Nice” hooks strongly as well in the chorus, the high point of a track that seems curiously muddy at times.
As far as the songwriting on this album is concerned, “Cold Rain” sets a high bar early on – its early release on a 7” gives this album familiarity almost right off the bat – while later tracks like “Hack” couple an instantly memorable lyrical base with commanding drumming and searing guitars for another standout moment. “Must Be Nice”, as already discussed, seems like the only true bit of a miss on this record, and only because it doesn’t quite do what many of these other tracks already can do with the same velocity and certainty.
But to be slightly more fair, Comadre feels quite cohesive from front to back in terms of tone and energetic flow from track to track. The recording process reaped a very warm sound that harvests well in the buzzing bass lines and crisp guitars – this is something that doesn’t leave the slightly raw end product contained here. In that same breath though, this is not a record that runs a particular genre into the ground. The front half of the record in particular strikes some interesting notions in terms of meshing styles and approaches in both instrumentation and songwriting. Whether it be the less punchy moments of “Color Blind”, the punk rock strumming of “The Moon” or the plethora of sounds in the instrumental swells of “Untitled”, Comadre just doesn’t seem to have a boundary on this record in terms of finding a way to make their ideas fit into the overall arc of things. Better yet, they do it with such ease and clarity that whether it is a piano, accordion or a piece of auxiliary percussion, it all sounds pretty natural.
It’s always tough to start out the year not knowing exactly what will come in whatever musical realm your ears will find. Comadre may or may not be on your radar already with a fairly early release for this record, but they really should be. Their self-titled, no frills full-length hits boldly and on all cylinders, capturing the curiosity of this particular group of musicians with a noted stripe of punk rock ethos to boot. If there is any right way to start your 2013 listening, it ought to be with this record – one that doesn’t hold back artistically in the name of creating a damn fine collection of cathartic jams.
Also, just to clarify with the score, we discussed as a site to move to a unified score for reviewing... and since it was only a few of us not doing it anyways, it looks like now is the time to do it. If enough people want me to keep doing the separated scores, I have no problem putting them in the actual review.