After two albums of hazy, somnambulant indie-pop, the Comas took a huge step forward with the release of last year's Conductor. The bubbling thrush of electronic washes and ringing, jangling guitars is like sunshine peeking through the album's gray emotional skies. Composed in the aftermath of lead singer/guitarist Andy Herod's breakup with actress girlfriend Michelle Williams, it features the stunning ode to her, "Tonight on the WB," which has a pop wobble similar to the Breeders' "Cannonball," and the priceless chorus, "We love it when you fall apart/You turn it into higher art/We see it in your eyes but your lips never part/You're so hard." Though the Comas definitely deliver some rock crunch, they'll have a hard time matching the Brit-inflected garage fury of Sweden's Mando Diao. The band's thundering punch has earned it comparisons to countrymen The Hives, but Mando Diao feels as much affinity for the overdriven R&B of the '60s mod movement as the grimy pulse of Stooges-influenced garage chug.
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