“Adventures In Coverland” by Girl In A Coma

Artist: Girl In A Coma
Title: “Adventures In Coverland”
Label: Blackheart Records
Release Date: 10/19/2010
Genre: Alt-Rock
Rating: 4.5/5

A few months ago the ladies of Girl In A Coma released a limited edition three EP vinyl set of cover material that was instrumental in their own musical development. The EP’s were unique in that the premise of each albums art was that of friends attempting to catch every Girl In A Coma gig before they reach their hometown. These EP’s in terms of their musical content found the girls dishing out some very interesting versions of tunes that many people know and some that might still be a mystery. I reviewed each of the individual EP’s and lamented at the closing of these narratives how while cool to put out on vinyl were really limiting their purchase and would have been better served by releasing the sum total of them on a single CD release. It seemed as though someone out there was listening to me as that is exactly what the Girl In A Coma group has done with “Adventures In Coverland” – The Complete Edition. I am re-presenting my thoughts about the tunes they offered up in a slightly edited fashion to reflect the single CD and then I’ll close up with views about the additions to this release.

If you have not yet heard about Girl In A Coma yet, please know that the band is made up of sisters Nina (vocals/guitar) and Phanie Diaz (drums) who are joined by Jenn Alva (bass), they have been active since about 2007. The album begins with the ladies delivering a Punkish version of Selena’s “Si Una Vez” and while I can honestly say that I never listened to the deceased Tejano music icon, it does seem like the girls did justice to her track. It’s sung in Spanish like the original was and has a rocking drive that shows how well the girls are able to take something from out of their immediate style and make it their own. Given the girls own Mexican-American heritage it is very likely that they were very exposed to Quintanilla’s music while growing up. They follow up with their take on The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and as usual with anything related to the Fab Four I approach it with caution. All reservations aside the ladies did well with this one and it finds them starting out slow and rather mellow before picking up the pace and intensity of the overall groove. I had to say that I enjoyed this tune a lot more than the Selena contribution but that’s based on my Beatles preference more than anything else. The “adventures” continue along with the dishing out of some Post-Punk strains of the Joy Division with “Transmission” and while the original Industrial tasting Dance Punk track was fine as it was, those Girls In A Coma show us just how interesting it can sound in a minimalistic acoustic sense. Their version is fraught with sorrow and despair when it gets to its closing melodies and I had to say that it was rather powerful and held some impact. The crescendo builds and builds until it leaves us with the solitary lonely voice of singer Nina Diaz. I am sure if Ian Curtis were alive to hear it that he would have approved of how they did it. Then its onto David Bowie’s “As The World Falls Down” and this tune was done originally for the movie “Labyrinth” which was a film in which the Great White Duke portrays Jareth the Goblin King and I must admit that I have only actually heard the original a couple of times before and have yet to see the film. The girls do a better musical version of the tune but of course Bowie is the voice that is perfect for it at the end of the day. I would have loved to hear this as a collaboration more than a cover, but that is not what these albums are about.

So far so good I had to say as the band focused their energies on interesting and out of the ordinary tracks and made me look forward to the rest of the album. Richie Valens own “Come On, Let’s Go” gets the blood pumping and it is a rousing number which gets a little extra by having their Punkish style foot on the floor. My fingers were tapping as this one played and I had to say that it was the liveliest out of all of the cover adventures so far. Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight” had an interesting flow to it and a slight heaviness based on the way the drums and guitar riffs kicked it up. I liked hearing this song in this fashion as opposed to the way how every single American Idol female contender does it. There also sounded like there were some horns snuck in there but that could have been my imagination. The original album closed up with a little bit of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground and I really enjoyed the chorus the most in this one but could not fairly gauge how the VU fans might react since I was never one of them to begin with. Towards the end there is a slow section that you feel the audience might participate in and I did find myself moving to it a little more than I would have expected myself to. Personally, there seemed to be a lot more energy on the tunes that were on that original third EP than there were on the earlier tracks presented.

With this on a full CD we get the additional cover track by the Buffalo Springfield which is a fantastic song in the first place and one that gets a nice working over by the girls. I know at this point I seem to be over flattering their methods but I had to say that this was one of the most effective cover albums I had heard in a couple of years. They close the album with an original “Yo Oigo” which is apparently a part of the “Machete” soundtrack and then send us home with an acoustic version of another song they do called “HH”. I had to say that they made me a fan of their sound as these cover albums were my first go at the band and they are now on my list of groups I would like to see live. The packaging is eco-friendly cardboard and its artwork when folded out, displays the board game that was found on the three separate EP’s. If you were ever curious about this band then I have to say that this is a good place to start your study into them. Nice work ladies. I am looking forward to your next release thanks the feeling that this one managed to leave me with.

Track Listing:
1. Si Una Vez (Selena)
2. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (The Beatles)
3. Transmission (Joy Division)
4. As The World Falls Down (David Bowie)
5. Come On, Let’s Go (Richie Valens)
6. Walkin’ After Midnight (Patsy Cline)
7. Femme Fatale (Velvet Underground)
8. For What Its Worth (Buffalo Springfield)
9. Yo Oigo
10. HH (acoustic)

Official Website: http://www.girlinacoma.com

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