Bands to Watch 2014: Post Coma Network

  • Photos by Meghan Ralston
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From the January 23, 2014 edition

Post Coma Network is having a bit of an identity crisis these days.

“We are so completely all over the place,” said singer/guitarist Chris Elliot Cope, 32, in a recent interview. “We have almost nothing in common musically. Sometimes the inside joke is that in photos we don’t even look like we belong in the same band. But I guess it’s a part of our charm or whatever, because it seems to work.”

More recently this divide has revealed itself during recording sessions for the quartet’s in-progress debut. Cope said songs have been split evenly between moody, minor key ballads and more upbeat fare like “Queen of the Nightlife,” a catchy, Vampire Weekend-gone-disco ditty that doubled as the group’s 2013 breakout.

“We have this big, ongoing argument like, ‘Do these songs belong on the same album together or do we separate them into different things?” Cope said. “Are people going to think this is a band that doesn’t know what it is doing and hasn’t found its sound yet? Or is this just a band that has a lot of tricks up its sleeve?”

We obviously believe it’s the latter, and Cope and his bandmates — Josh Montgomery (guitar), Chris Cost (bass) and Zack Rodriguez (drums) — should offer up the supporting evidence when they finally release the album sometime later this year.

Growing up, the singer, who was born to a mail carrier father and a homemaker mother, likely couldn’t have envisioned he’d one day front a band. As a child, Cope had debilitating stage fright, and he once suffered what he described as a “wildly psychotic episode” when asked to read an English assignment in front of the class (“I was just slumped against the wall cracking up because I didn’t know what else to do,” he said).

In a sense, Post Coma’s songs have served as a coping mechanism of sorts, helping the singer overcome struggles both personal and universal. Indeed, Cope said many of the more upbeat tunes were written as a way to endure the countless difficulties he and his bandmates encountered over the course of 2013, including family drama, death and illness.

“I think the only thing that went right last year was our band,” he said. “So a lot of the songs have been about trying to stay positive. They’re about finding your place or moving forward.”