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Comadre - Comadre (Cover Artwork)

Comadre

Comadre: ComadreComadre (2013)
Vitrol Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
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Contributed by: Dante3000Dante3000
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In most introductory film theory classes, students learn about something called the "auteur theory." It holds that the director is the primary creative force or "author" of a film. It has been modified in recent years to focus more on filmmakers who take on multiple roles, like writer/directors such.
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In most introductory film theory classes, students learn about something called the "auteur theory." It holds that the director is the primary creative force or "author" of a film. It has been modified in recent years to focus more on filmmakers who take on multiple roles, like writer/directors such as Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino. However, the theory is frequently debated due to the sheer volume of creative roles that exist in film. Costume designers, cinematographers, composers, and even actors all have a hand in the final product, and the overall tone and image of a film (this is recently evidenced by multiple critics noting the lack of Sally Menke's editing hand in Tarantino's latest film Django Unchained). While, the theory may not hold for film, it may hold true for Bay Area mainstays Comadre, especially on their latest self-titled album. Looking at the liner notes, there is exactly one outside name (band photographer and trumpeter on "Drag Blood" Lev Perry). All the instruments were played by the band's five members' all the production was done by guitarist Jack Shirley (at Shirley's own Atomic Garden Studios no less); even the photography and layout were done by vocalis, Juan Gabe. The end result is an album 100% made on Comadre's terms in both sound and appearance, and it's 100% fantastic.

While most of Comadre's previous work is a frantic, fast paced cacophony, their latest effort is far more mellow, perhaps even poppy. While tracks like "Cold Rain" could fit nicely on their older work, there's a slew of pieces breaking new ground for the band. "Summercide" channels the band's more traditional emo influences right down to the piano and organ rounding out the sound. Branching out further, the band feature a heavy western sound on "Drag Blood," which could be a modern soundtrack to an outlaw gunfight. The oddity of the record is that the more traditional songs (featuring heavier melody and more standard verse/chorus structure) are the more unusual for Comadre, yet they are no less fitting or powerful.

Perhaps more than a particular sound, Comadre's hallmark has been meticulous attention to detail. Taking most of 2012 to write and record their self-titled, Comadre set no schedule and held themselves to no expectations. This could easily have resulted in an album of strange, self-indulgent experimentation; the closest the band let themselves come is "Untitled" which clocks in at 3:31 (incredibly long by Comadre standards) and features crashing percussion, organs and even a saw but no vocals. But Comadre craft the album with masterful form, never allowing anything to stray too far, or allowing any track to alienate itself from the album as a whole. While the album definitely highlights the journey, with each track forming its own sound and narrative, the album clearly has a destination which keeps new sonic elements and styles from frivolity and meandering about.

Even though it's vastly different from their previous work, it's hard to call 2013's self-titled record experimental, as Comadre have long been known for experimenting. The band itself have always felt like a bit of an experiment; compiled from the remnants of other Redwood City bands, featuring two sets of siblings, releasing series of free mixtapes (often with new and unreleased material) and focusing on a tireless DIY ethic (it's like an anti-Oasis). Their self-titled album reflects this makeup perfectly. This is an album made by people who don't want to rehash what they've been doing for 15+ years and are just as willing to try new things as they are to admit when something doesn't work. It's an album that is just as diverse as it is focused and it's an amazing way to start 2013.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
OrgcorePunker (March 13, 2013)

Bummer that they are breaking up.

fattony (January 28, 2013)

Loving the shit out of this on the first few spins. Reminds me a lot of The Blood Brothers, only slightly less abrasive (or maybe a more abrasive La Dispute). Whatever the case, album is rad and I will be listening to it a lot.

sawdonkey (January 7, 2013)

I'm really liking this. I like the abrasive vocals over the music that is not so abrasive. I find myself thinking that certain parts of songs sound like a lot of other bands: Blood Brothers (obviously), Lawrence Arms, Against Me, Test Icicles, None More Black, Brand New, La Dispute.

Deadpan (January 7, 2013)

If they had more than one/a vocalist that wasn't a one trick pony, this could be good. I went from enjoying the vocals to finding them so monotonous and overbearing I had to stop listening. it's a shame, because musically this is really cool, but the vocals ruin it.

Misinterpreter (January 6, 2013)

SHIIIIIT. This record is something else. Will easily be in my top 10 come year's end, if not top 5.

telegraphrocks (January 5, 2013)

Man, "Binge" is such an awesome fucking song! Goddamn.

Also, to onegirlarmy;
Vagina-bomb... or something.

onegirlarmy (January 5, 2013)

(In before someone makes a sexist comment or a rape joke on my expense)

onegirlarmy (January 5, 2013)

Much like others I definitely see this as becoming top ten of the year material. Superb record.

I also do get a Murder City Devils vibe from a few songs, and that's not a bad thing.

exitflagger (January 4, 2013)

Robert Pollard comes up with more good ideas on a monthly basis than this band has in their ten odd years together. Also, you can`t go from singular to plural like that within the same sentence. It should have been "wish," you uneducated clown.

telegraphrocks (January 4, 2013)

This album is fucking awesome.
Guided By Voices wishes they were this good.

mouseteeth (January 4, 2013)

It's hard to imagine anything beating this on a future 2013 "best of" list.

pdxtoph (January 4, 2013)

This record fucking rules.

exitflagger (January 4, 2013)

Fucked Up`s vocalist sounds epic. This chump is just annoying and sings far too loudly.

SilentStorms (January 4, 2013)

I always equated these guys to sounding like PG99. I've never really gotten into Comadre, but they put out some decent music.

essenceoftong (January 4, 2013)

loving this

cyanotic (January 4, 2013)

Great music, but the vocals just aren't for me. Kind of like Fucked Up in that sense.

wallofyouth (January 4, 2013)

i only listened to the first few songs but to me it just sounded like refused playing international noise conspiracy songs (i know)

renaldo69 (January 4, 2013)

Really great album. There was a lot of indie and folk parts that surprised me. They really opened their arsenal up here. Nice way to open 2013...it was near-perfect

renaldo69 (January 4, 2013)

Really great album. There was a lot of indie and folk parts that surprised me. They really opened their arsenal up here. Nice way to open 2013...it was near-perfect

exitflagger (January 3, 2013)

After a second listen, this sounds like Kid Dynamite mixed with Murder City Devils, except nowhere near as good as the latter. The vocalist is also annoying as fuck. He sounds like a bad Shevchuk impersonator, and his overbearing presence mostly crowds out whatever intricacies are happening in the background. The only decent singing happens in the first 30 seconds of "Must Be Nice."

Also, there is no current auteur theory for rock music, so that first paragraph was pointless mental masturbation of the tinymixtapes variety, but not as educated or eloquent.

sketchyjoe (January 3, 2013)

So the idea that there is one primary creative force behind a piece of art that involves many people applies to this album because there are several primary creative forces behind it and it only involves them?

suburbanxcore (January 3, 2013)

I would be very surprised if this isn't in my top three records of the year.

bryne (January 3, 2013)

It's great!

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