After embracing the concept of the covers album with 2010's Adventures in Coverland, San Antonio trio Girl in a Coma get back to reviving the riot grrrl scene with their fourth album, Exits & All the Rest. Produced by Mike McCarthy (Spoon), the likes of the bass-driven garage rock of "Knocking at Your Door," the pogo-inducing glam of "One Eyed Fool," and the sludgy grunge of "Mother's Lullaby" are just as ballsy, raw, and noisy as anything the early '90s could muster, while frontwoman Nina Diaz remains a tour de force, effortlessly pushing her voice to the limits throughout its 11 tracks, as evident on the no-nonsense punk feistiness of stop-start opener "Adjust," the whiskey-soaked anguish on the slow-building country-tinged "Sly," and the tortured howls on the galloping sleazy fuzz-rock of "Control." These heavier amp-cranking tracks are what you'd expect from a band signed to Joan Jett's Blackheart Records label, but less predictable is the middle section, which reveals a more melodic, slightly mellower, and arguably more compelling side. The jangly indie pop of "Smart" is one of the rare occasions where their love of the Smiths is apparent in more than just their band name; "She Had a Plan" is an effective spin on the surf rock sound of the '60s with its twanging guitars, chiming glockenspiels, and crunching distorted solos; while the reverb-laden atmospherics and sweet yearning harmonies of "So" help produce perhaps the poppiest song of their career. Despite these interesting diversions, Exits & All the Rest is just a bit too straightforward to gain the plaudits of the more experimental Warpaint, but it's still a vibrant record that cleverly recaptures the spirit of their influences while remaining quintessentially Girl in a Coma.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien