Comateens - Danger Zone [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Danger Zone [12-inch] (2023)


You know that song “Ramona” by the Ramones? It’s actually about a real person- Ramona Janquitto. Here’s a fun fact about Ramona- she cofounded the Comateens, the punk/new wave band that were among the first wave of synth-punk and cut three really cool, groundbreaking albums. But, Ramona left the group before the recording of their first album to join Dizzy and the Romilars. (She also produced the lauded Nastyfacts EP).

But, now it has recently come to light that Ramona actually recorded some songs with the comateens before leaving. Now those recordings have been excavated, and get this, they are freaking great.

“Danger Zone” is a hard driving rocker with co-founder Nick Dembling on vocals and Ramoma on guitar and back ups. The tune has the mean, sadistic crunch of bands like Crime and the early Dangerhouse scene. But, whereas those bands would go full on destruction, here, early Comateens pull back and slide in new wave synths… before new wave even existed. The track juggles the nihilism and self-destruction of first wave punk with a surprisingly bouncing back beat.

The flipside features Ramona on vocals and finds the band being one of the first groups to go full on synth punk. “Elizabeht’s Lover” would be recorded layer by Dizzy, but the original Comateen version blends girl group woes with punk rock snap. Across the track, Ramona gets more and more paranoid as she hanky-pankies with Elizabeth’s boyfriend. The track not only shows that the Ramones weren’t the only punk group to connect Phil Spector to three-chords, but also somehow takes the vision into the future with a buzzing synth. The track is meta-referential without being too smart for itself, all while rocking.

Comateens have somewhat been lost to time- though a really nice box set came out a few years ago. This artifact clearly shows that the band should get more focus… and that we should keep digging for more gems.