Review: Girl in a Coma - Both Before I Die
Label: Blackheart Records
Released: May 15, 2007
Being a female band on Blackheart Records, the expectation would be that Girl in a Coma would follow in Joan Jett's footsteps. Unlike so many of Jett's followers though, Girl in a Coma didn't forget that attitude and hooks aren't mutually exclusive. Besides, they're a lot closer to Blondie's edgey punkish pop than to Jett's rather mundane punkish hard rock.
Girl in a Coma have more in common with Blondie or Concrete Blonde even than Jett. Like the former, they capture that same breathy sultriness and show that it can happen without coming across as weak or fragile. They also share Johnette Naploitano's ability to be touching yet dark. There is an unmistakable punk element on Both Before I Die, but unlike most pop-punk of today, these songs have deeper hooks that feel like more than just a facade. "Their Cell" taps into the early 60s girl group sound, yet extends well beyond the two minute pop song enough to exude a dark inner toughness that is the core of why the album is believable.
Girl in a Coma mixes gritty, raw richness with an abrasive edge that finds that happy (or not so happy) middle ground between punk and polish. Their mix of punk's angry aesthetic with pop accessibility rings truer than most in that same game these days.
If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.