Sunday, April 19, 2009

This is a Coffinberry Promo Review

This is a Coffinberry Promo
(self released)

In lew of writing a regular album review for Coffinberry, a band whom I consider to be the most underrated in the state of Ohio (and possibly the Midwest as a whole), I am going to review (or sum up) this strange CD that has been sitting in front of my computer for the past month. It’s not a ‘Cleveland Classic’ or even a proper release; it looks to be meant for the ears of a booker or some wing nut at a label but it makes for a nice DIY ‘Best Of’.

The cover art is another stellar mind fuck by local genius Jeremy Jakstas, another underrated Clevelander and one of Clevelanders best flyer and album artists. My favorite part is the vending machine in the drawing which clearly says ‘Pop’ not soda like these western jerk offs insist it’s called.

NOTE: As I play this CD the cockroaches in my apartment are braving the heat and starting to congregate on my desk. The big ones too; there has to be some sort of rock and roll cliché hidden there.

‘Cruise Control Psycho’ is a pop-raucous of an opener, easily one of the most memorable songs from their debut From Now on Now. It’s a good time capsule for where the band stood in 2005: happy, maybe a little in love with each other and full of good faith for what the future was going to bring them. I love how the drum roll in the beginning could have been the start of a steamrolling metal song but, instead, it brings us into a world of indie rock bliss and mentions of a ballerina.

‘Your Comeback’ follows and this one was the best song on the 2006 Sleush cassette, no question. Death Sweats cover it, the dirt balls at NTC know the words and it does a bruising on your heart strings. The riff somehow bounces which typically makes the balls of my feet roll back and forth as the lyrics tell a great little story of a departed couple, the line ‘All of the things you’ll think of/I though them first’ being the snidest comment ever heard in such a sweet tune.

Then ‘Just like the Light through Trees Do’ takes away any of that happiness and love I was talking about. Now we find Coffinberry in a dark place and it sounds fucking nice, like nineties alt-rock could have if the checks had not been so big. Nick Cross’ breaking voice is followed by a lonely guitar as he lets the cripples know where they can stay with (with him).

God Damn Dogs is my favorite Coffinberry release. It’s the record I originally wanted to review for either Scene or Deadtown but I never had the guts (or the words) to pull it off. I understand I keep pressing the word ‘easily’ down your overstuffed throats but I really do think that it is ‘easily’ the coolest rock record to come out of Cleveland in an ‘easy’ decade. On this taste of their recording chops they offer two songs. ‘Bombs and Palm Trees’ is as skuzzy and as weirdly alt-metallic as Sun God but also a taste of what Nirvana might have been like had they been from Snowy Cleveland rather than that coffee stain north of me.

They leave us with ‘Little Child of Dementia’ EASILY the catchiest song you’ve heard in ages. EASILY way better than anything playing on the radio. EASILY a set closer for an opener for, let’s say, U2 or some such gnarly shit. Not that I’m comparing them to those rat bastards, I’m just saying this is the closet thing to break out music heard from Cleveland since the Choir.

I’m not jumping on any local band wagons; I’ve known these guys for years and have always been a big fan. After spending the last year or so working on the other end of the music business it really blows my mind that Coffinberry is not on a label, playing big venues and racking up a lot of mentions in shit rags like Spin or (god forbid) Filter. If that did happen I like to think that they would stay in the same house in the same part of the Cle west side and continue to write the type of music that only people from Cleveland could: music full of pain and heartbreak but created with hope and belief. This is believeland after all and I am pulling for these guys to bring us a title.

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