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Spells, The Comas (Vagrant)

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The Comas' previous album, 2004's Conductor, was a different kind of break-up album: Inspired by singer Andrew Herod's much-reported split with actress Michelle Williams, the songs didn't rehash arguments or assign blame but simply sulked around the house, crashed on the couch, and flipped channels in a stoner haze. Spells, the band's follow-up as well as their debut for Vagrant, takes its trippiness outdoors: Crunchy opener "Red Microphones" sounds like kids playing D&D in the backyard. Songs like "I Am a Spider" and stand-out/manifesto "Stoneded" emphasize sing-along melodies and psychedelic imagery. "Thistledown" is a tender but triumphant epic in miniature. These songs are extroverted instead of introverted, the sound of getting over it. ("Red Microphones," "Sarah T.")

Grade: B+

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