Coma Cinema doesn’t shy away from what’s real.
Coma Cinema is an American indie pop band formed by Mat Cothran in 2005 while he was in high school. After a few years performing locally, Cothran released his first album, Baby Prayers, in 2009.
His newest album, Loss Memory, was released December 7, 2017. This emotional collection of songs really showcases the Coma Cinema’s growth as a band, with captivating melodies and lyrics that reach into the souls of all who listen.
The album kicks off on a rather solemn note with the opening track, “Eventually.” Stylistically this song comes off as mellow and dreamy, but delving deeper into the lyrics reveals a darker, more sorrowful tone. Death, despair, and a sense of apathy color the tone. No punches are pulled here, as the song’s opening verse is arguably one of the most heavy:
“As my whole world comes down around me
Show me no pity as I ease
Into a suicidal laughter”
Still, acknowledging these feelings is important, and far more beneficial than locking them away. “Eventually” shines through in its rawness and unapologetic exploration of the darker aspects of being human.
“Loss Memory” is a short, piano-driven track with a pleasantly simple melody and a mildly existential edge. The lyrics, though only consisting of a few lines, drip with a sense of resigned loneliness. It’s reaching from a state of existence that isn’t new, but still hits hard through its implied consistency.
The slow, soft, drawn out vocals of “Phillip” give the song a dreamy feel, while the drums add an exotic vibe. Still, this track carries over the sense of loneliness brought on by “Loss Memory,” almost as if it’s a continuation of sorts.
“Tether” adds a bit of intensity with the addition of the electric guitar and a stronger beat. This song carries a sense of rebellion “through the looking glass of abuse.” The unhappy home life described could also be seen as the driving force behind the apathy of the other tracks. After all, it appears this is the point when the singer starts to believe that life is nothing but “mortally coiled around nothingness.”
Things slow down again with “Thunder,” but this time there’s a twist. With a mournful piano, Cothran sings of the parting of two souls. There is forgiveness, but also a sense of emptiness just beneath the surface.
“Ambrosia in the Bitter World” has a more lighthearted feel than the previous tracks on Loss Memory. Bittersweet in nature, this song is about the little things that make life worth living despite the sorrows it often brings. Ambrosia, the food of the gods in Greek mythology, is also a term for something aesthetically pleasing, often by smell or taste.
The mood continues to brighten with “Burden” as a more upbeat rhythm rolls in with a warm acoustic guitar. While not outright happy, this song encourages listeners to forget their problems for a little bit, and lay their burdens down. Some of the problems from earlier tracks are even addressed here, such as the mother with cancer from “Tether.”
“Running Wide Open” has an air of reckless abandonment about it with a sense of carpe diem laced with whiskey as a running theme. Things are good through in this song, though it’s clear the life described is being lived through a haze. The catchy guitar and heart-pounding rhythm evoke a sense of adventure while the lyrics push down all the dirty things the past holds for the singer.
The illusion is broken with the beginning of “Window,” as listeners are brought back to the hometown that holds nothing but bad memories. Maybe it’s the falsely uplifting nature of the previous track, but something about this song hits twice as hard. The lyrics recall dark, painful memories that bring tears to the eye, and with them comes the cold, cruel reminder of the reality once lived in:
“At home, there’s blood on my bed
And no running water
There is a room I don’t go in, I
See myself through the door
Me and my mom used to hide there
Crying our prayers through a window
A fig tree covered in water
Holds the moonlight like a prison”
The album ends on a melancholy note with “Sad World.” This slow track reestablishes the sense of reassignment evoked by previous songs, with poetic lyrics and a soft melody. If it wasn’t obvious that much of this album was about the effects of an unhappy childhood, this song nails it home with the verse:
“Rot me, alcoholic womb
I wanna burn my way through this world
Consumed with you”
Loss Memory is without a doubt a heavy album, but that’s what makes it feel so real. The pain conveyed through the mellow songs is relatable. Only through acknowledging those feelings can they truly be reconciled, and that acknowledgement of the dark side of humanity is what makes this album so great.