Listen Up: Wednesday, March 31, 2005
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Coma Rally

Coma Rally (self-released)

By Jimmy Fowler

There are plenty of banked-up armies of haywire electric guitars on the eponymous debut from Coma Rally, whose creative font is none other than prolific Fort Worth singer-songwriter Tim Locke. Thanks mostly to the eclectic production of everywhere-at-once bros Todd and Toby Pipes, who really ought to emerge from their Bass Propulsion labs in Dallas long enough to remind themselves what the sun looks like, the 12 songs on Coma Rally hop around from boyish post-punk to operatic five-minute grunge workouts to moments of the sardonically sweet acoustic stylings that Locke can’t seem to stay away from.
Unfortunately, also thanks to the Pipes, the sensation of creative ADHD starts to sink in after the second spin, when you get the feeling that Locke and his backing duo of singer-instrumentalists are playing dress-up with a crate full of genre mannerisms from the last 20 years of rock ’n’ roll. As a songwriter, Locke has more hooks in him than a large-mouth bass. This accounts for the immediate impression of mastery that his material conveys, but it also prettifies Coma Rally’s attempts to jam spastically by depleting some of the energy.
“Coma Rally” is, thankfully, not the group’s attempt to brand a club-party credo a la “everybody Wang Chung tonight” but a hypnotically minor-key, pulse-racing rocker with a nifty schizophrenic chorus, made from fusing the voices of Locke, guitarist Daniel Harville, and bassist Byron Gordon into what sounds like competing arguments in a single skull. “Failure in the Small Things” could have been an outtake from a Wings album; the tune even slows down for a brief keyboards-only reprise in the middle. “Transmit: Mind to Hands” uses the same triumvirate of male vocals but this time through distorted mic effects. As the voices go from murmuring to making impatient demands (“What do you want?”), Gordon’s bass stutters out an impudent retort. The six-minute “Ray,” possibly a heroin-heavenly funeral farewell to an idealistic musician, drags its sonic doldrums on for too long to carry listeners the length of the journey. The whole of Coma Rally feels a bit like that, the idle luxuriousness of its execution letting your mind stray too far from the music. — Jimmy Fowler


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