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Coa - Sea Urchin Character

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Artist: Coa

Album: Sea Urchin Character

Label: Gyuune

Review date: Jun. 16, 2003

The Return of Eddie and Bill

Meet the two powerhouse women from Himeji, Japan: Eddie and Bill. They're back with their third album, and it's a killer. Literally. Coa began as a bass and drum duo inspired by horror films (hence one member adopting the name Eddie Corman, after the filmmaker), but since their first album they've expanded their instrumentation and vision somewhat into a combination of heavy-hitting grindcore and psychedelic freakout.

Sea Urchin Character begins with a brief opener, "Teorama (intro)", a powerful piece with strong, steady drums and fuzzed-out bass with an intricate, deceptively quiet break. "Dead Generation" follows, a sprawling 14-minute epic that starts with several minutes of creepy atmospherics, scraping strings, whistles and flutes. By the time we get six minutes in, the duo have developed a rudimentary groove, and an organ comes in to embellish things nicely. Once they've built up a nicely psychedelic head of steam, Eddie's vocals come in sounding like a horror movie victim's last dying shouts. The layers build and build, with bass and drums winding down until it ends cathartically with a big distorted chop.

The three-part "Cell Division" spans a range from beautiful tarpits of guitar to massively fuzzed-out rock madness. Part I is unusual in that it's drums and guitar, not bass. The guitar is dense and stunning, waves of distorted chords with gorgeous notes chiming amidst the chaos while the drums pummel and power their way through the darkness. Towards the end of this part, the music suddenly gets chopped up and looped briefly, and then we enter part II, all superfuzz power chords. It doesn't stay that way for long, though – soon we get ultra-scary vocals, trumpet, and who knows what else all thrown into a blender. Part II actually comes to a definite end, after a mere four minutes of bruising sonic assault, when Part III starts up quietly and blissfully. Pretty guitar work hovers above sparse, precise drums. The sound grows rhythmically thicker before it all comes to an end.

Coming full circle, the closing "Teorama" erupts straight out of the previous track with massive pulsating distortobass, heavy drumming, and throat-clearing vocals. Hopefully these two will be able to share their live show outside of Japan sometime soon.

By Mason Jones

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