Girl in a Coma
Exits & All the Rest
By Al Kaufman
If ever a band name has been a misnomer, than it is for Girl in a Coma. Yes, this trio from San Antonio grew up as Smiths fans (hence the band name), but their music is very much alive.
When bassist Jennifer Alva and drummer Phanie Diaz found themselves looking for a lead singer some years back, they never imagined it would be Phanie’s then 13-year-old sister, Nina (who also handles guitar duties). Now legally able to purchase alcohol, Nina Diaz has the voice of a grand dame. She can drawl through swamp rock (“Adjust”), to pure pop (“Smart”), to an all out full-lunged Grace Slick from the early Jefferson Airplane days (“Knocking at Your Door”). She can wail through “She Had a Plan,” but that ain’t nothing compared to the tribal cries of “Hope” (a song that tackles the issue of immigrants in Arizona).
Even better, the rhythm section stays right with her. Like most great Texas bands, they mix and meld styles to create one of their own. On “Cemetery Baby” they sound like a world weary, 21st century, doo-wop band. And “Control” is a punk-infused psychedelic romp in which the instruments scream as loud as Nina.
If anything, Girl in a Coma are too alive. They can be a bit overblown, like Heart on steroids. But rather too much passion than not enough, and Girl in a Coma bring the passion.