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Coma Cinema - Posthumous Release Album Cover

Coma Cinema - Posthumous Release

Reviewed by
8.0
Coma CinemaPosthumous Release
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Record Label: Fork and Spoon/Orchid Tapes
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Generally, when you think about pop music, what comes to mind is something like Rihanna or Katy Perry. Even though it is a fairly broad term - even Yeezus might be designated “pop” by some - the actual idea of the genre itself is fairly limited. It is frequently derided as vapid, senselessly manufactured music that hardly qualifies as “art,” if it does at all. Which makes it rather awkward when South Carolina’s Mathew Cothran takes up the Coma Cinema moniker to release his music, because anyone listening to him will be able to tell you it’s some variant of “pop,” but that it definitely wouldn’t fit in between Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake at a high school prom.

Cothran’s latest release under the Coma Cinema name, Posthumous Release, is another entry into his already extensive discography, and apparently the first that was recorded in anything resembling a traditional session. The professional recording pays off in spades, making the songwriting shine clearer than anything else he’s released. The scintillating psych-pop of “Burn A Church” and “She Keeps it Alive”’s 90’s alt-esque guitars wouldn’t work as well, if at all, had they been recorded the way Cothran’s Elvis Depressedly holo pleasures record from earlier in the year had been. There are a number of acoustic guitar-focused tracks that posits Cothran's vocals and music as a direct descendant of Elliot Smith's legendary mental state. Cothran is more experimental and unhinged than Smith ever was though, often dispensing with the immediacy of the hooks that he’d written on past records in favor of unsettling the listener in his own fashion.

The thread holding together those disparate sounds is Cothran’s voice, both authorially and audibly. His murmur of a voice sounds submerged under water and under the weight of his own thoughts more often than not, the surprisingly key element of the record. His vocal style, one of the most inherently morose I’ve ever come across, imbues his words with a sense of despondency that might outstrip what is intended. When he decisively states “Cut myself at work/walked outside, forgot about the world/weakness rot me wild,” it reads both as a comment on the pointless drudgery of a low-income job and the much darker idea of actually cutting yourself at work. “Survivor’s Guilt” is the most emotionally wrecking song on the album, turning the idea of “living for two” on it’s head, instead helplessly moaning that Cothran has to “see your fucked up life become mine.” Who the song is about is a mystery, as Cothran goes to lengths to keep the listener at arm’s length at all times, never allowing a foothold to be gained before the track ends and changes. Keeping the songs and lyrics short and disjointed insures that someone has a glimpse of his life, but the feeling is that any more than what is provided would overwhelm.

That aura of a forced distance on a record that manages to feel so personal is both a blessing and a curse. Cothran uses it to full advantage, obfuscating his own problems while leaving breadcrumbs for us to try to piece together some sort of narrative about his life. There's several mentions of dead significant others and attempted or successful suicides, but there is never any real cause given other than Cothran's own sense of fatigued apathy for life. That he keeps his life in shadows on such a deelpy personal record is frustrating, indeed infuriating at times, and it's largely what prevents Posthumous Release from reaching even greater heights.

When I first heard that the newest Coma Cinema record was titled Posthumous Release, I was stricken with worry that I had somehow missed the news of Cothran’s decision to end the project, or of his untimely demise. Thankfully, that was not the case, though the question about the title looms large in the mind while listening to the record. Is it simply an attempt at cheeky black humor, or is there something more to it? It would appear to me to be the latter - Cothran’s latest solo outing is drenched in a sense of a macabre feeling that even if this is not his last intended release, it may very well end up that way if he doesn’t pull himself together, and he doesn't allow enough insight into his head to suss out which way it's going to turn out.



8/10
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 20
09:52 PM on 07/01/13
#2
Jake Jenkins
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this album is good!
09:55 PM on 07/01/13
#3
Ryan Dennehy
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trust me, i know!
09:57 PM on 07/01/13
#4
JamieTheSonger
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I am very happy that you are reviewing things.
09:59 PM on 07/01/13
#5
Ryan Dennehy
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I am very happy that you are reviewing things.
Thanks dude. You can read some more of my stuff at http://www.sanctuaryreview.com/searc...Ryan%20Dennehy if you're so inclined. I've got a decent back catalogue, haha.
10:02 PM on 07/01/13
#6
JamieTheSonger
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Thanks dude. You can read some more of my stuff at http://www.sanctuaryreview.com/searc...Ryan%20Dennehy if you're so inclined. I've got a decent back catalogue, haha.
I have read your stuff, you are a very.. fluid writer. I am very happy you are reviewing things that wouldn't get exposure on this site otherwise. Thank you. Julia Brown?
10:06 PM on 07/01/13
#7
Ryan Dennehy
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I have read your stuff, you are a very.. fluid writer. I am very happy you are reviewing things that wouldn't get exposure on this site otherwise. Thank you. Julia Brown?
I've got one for Julia Brown on the other site, so I can't really post it here. It's possible I'll do their 7" though I wouldn't hold my breath. If they put out another record or EP before the end of the year I'll make sure it gets a review though.
10:16 PM on 07/01/13
#8
JamieTheSonger
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I've got one for Julia Brown on the other site, so I can't really post it here. It's possible I'll do their 7" though I wouldn't hold my breath. If they put out another record or EP before the end of the year I'll make sure it gets a review though.

Shit I just saw it, now I'm embarrassed. They're going on tour you mighta heard. Wonder how this translates live
10:21 PM on 07/01/13
#9
Ryan Dennehy
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Shit I just saw it, now I'm embarrassed. They're going on tour you mighta heard. Wonder how this translates live
Haha yeah. I think they're looking for a date in a city near me, I should probably get in touch with them to see if I can help since I know a couple booking guys. I think JB has a cleaner sound live, like the 7", not sure about Coma Cinema though. I'd love to see both
10:59 PM on 07/01/13
brandon_260
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For some reason I thought you already wrote about this for my website.
07:29 AM on 07/02/13
Ryan Dennehy
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For some reason I thought you already wrote about this for my website.
nop
08:15 AM on 07/02/13
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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I love this so much. Mat's a good guy
08:54 AM on 07/02/13
phaynes1
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Okay I see Denneghly is contributing a lot
08:59 AM on 07/02/13
Ryan Dennehy
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Okay I see Denneghly is contributing a lot
should hopefully have another for Pity Sex up this week, but after that who knows haha. playing catch up, all of these releases have been out at least a week already
09:10 AM on 07/02/13
phaynes1
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should hopefully have another for Pity Sex up this week, but after that who knows haha. playing catch up, all of these releases have been out at least a week already
Glad2see it

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