Sensory Overload: Post Coma Network

By
From the May 31, 2012 edition

My introduction to Post Coma Network was “Queen of the Nightlife,” a breezy, vaguely tropical and somewhat wordy paean to a girl who’s out of your league. The song attaches some quite nice Vampire Weekend-gone-roller-disco delight (see the video) to an awkward Eve 6 chorus that seems stitched from a different cloth.

To my ears, it’s a pleasant but unremarkable single. Yet “Queen of the Nightlife” latches onto people. It caused a couple of influential Columbus music professionals to gush about Post Coma Network enough to put the band on my radar, and it was the only song that caused females to break out in spontaneous dance Sunday at The Tree Bar.

You might answer to its authority, too. But if you’re shrugging your shoulders at “Queen of the Nightlife” like me, don’t let that stop you from exploring what else Post Coma Network has to offer. Sunday’s set showed that while this band has a lot of room to grow, they’re already pros when it comes to texture and feel. This was like hearing sleek studio recordings in real time. (Actually, it sounded way, way better than their studio recordings.)

When the initial sonic fog cleared, they locked into a disco rhythm and quickly married it to a highly approachable hook. A good beat plus a good melody is really all you need to get by, but they took it somewhere special with a killer arrangement that made the most of their effects pedals. I could have sworn there was a keyboard in the room.

Their bag of tricks was deep. They topped off one chorus with a canny chord change out of the old-time pop playbook. They deployed a harsh blast of noise just when the song needed a glass of ice water to the face. They toyed with vicious hardcore breakdowns and fey background harmonies. They whipped up a sonic ice storm and indulged in interlocking rhythms that reminded me why they played Math on the Range. They slapped da bass.

I didn’t mind all the sonic costume changes; the constant surprises were half the fun. Still, the set felt more like groundwork for where Post Coma Network could go than a fully realized vision come to life.