Album Review: Coma Cinema – Blue Suicide




Do any of you remember a little project from the 90’s called Primitive Radio Gods (PRG)? Their debut album, Rocket? Holding the #9 spot on our Top 10 Albums of 1996 list, this artifact was created by a man, some old stereo equipment, and $1,000. In retrospect, it deserved more than a one-hit wonder status back then, and we know it, but in a digital age, any rock star with an iPad can churn out an album to gift wrap in time for Christmas.

Mat Cothran, the sole creator behind Coma Cinema, is a bit like PRG’s Chris O’Connor: an outsider opting to chip the glass instead of peer into it. If Stoned Alone was Coma Cinema’s “minimalist pop on cassette,” then Blue Suicide is its static-imbued Freudian analysis of the loss that inspired Cothran all along. It is gelatinous sorrow, powdered with ambiance, and riddled with the fruits of every rendezvous gone awry.

It’s a lot like a Jell-O fruit cup in a cafeteria, if Jell-O fruit cups actually tasted like wholesome food, and it wasn’t lime-flavored.

Blue Suicide clocks in at roughly 35 minutes, making the third LP the longest in Coma Cinema’s trilogy thus far. On average, songs here run along similar time frames as their predecessors, except the higher emphasis on subject matter and tones and seemingly upped production value render Blue Suicide a weightier release. Silent chaos resides in everything from Cothran’s pet project, giving it the depth to really convey sadness on a muted level.

“Hell” and “Greater Vultures” resemble the handiwork of something you’d hear in Garden State, only lacking the haughtiness or “so indie it’s cool” sensibilities. “Desolation’s Plan” goes from a Dylan/Waters temperament to something almost appropriate for a King Biscuit Time EP. It is unclear if Cothran’s trying too hard to be obscure or if obscurity with elements of psychedelia and shoegaze are really his arena. On the one hand, “Caroline, Please Kill Me” and “Wondering” each feel like an anti-[insert Apple commercial jingle], with some ferocious melancholy and pop stirred in. On the other, “Gentlewoman” could be mistaken for a 60’s tune by any number of Beatles mimics.

The principal thought in lyrics like “turn your back on forever, run from the past as it explodes…” or “you’re the mirror image of the girl you’ll never know” should be painstakingly clear, and yet the slight difficulty in discerning each and every word gives one more room for interpretation and focus on the musical half of Blue Suicide‘s equation (though the album’s title should be a dead giveaway).

For Coma Cinema’s part, Mat Cothran displays one premise very, very well: If you’re “willing to eat what the vultures will not,” then go on and take that red pill, ladies and gents. Welcome to the depression of the real, usurping your delicate naivety song by song.

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