Coma Rossi – Void

Coma Rossi – Void

It’s been six years since Coma Rossi burst onto the prog scene with their critically acclaimed eponymous debut album. For this second record only guitarist Gaurav Govilkar remains from that pre-Covid line up, and the five-piece has slimmed down to a duo. Govilkar takes on vocals, bass and keyboards alongside his original role on Void and he writes all the songs on this record too. He’s joined by new drummer Diane Galen, with the band now based in Germany and the UK rather than India.

Gaurav states the message and meaning of Void, “Driven by a constant yearning to stay true to its heart and words that look inward, Coma Rossi strives to achieve that contemplative silence and a familiar melancholy wrapped under the atmospheric, saturated guitars, reeking textures from imperfect synthesizers and explosive drum sounds, like when gearing up for a storm out at the sea”.

Like Airbag or Cosmograf, there’s a heavy dose of Pink Floyd in Coma Rossi’s influences along with more recent bands like Porcupine Tree and The Pineapple Thief, albeit with a more shoegaze styled vocal delivery. Falling Apart in particular feels like it could be a lost Pink Floyd or Porcupine Tree song, there’s a PT collaboration with Yoko Ono that it made me think of instantly. At times the vocals are more about serving the overall sound of the song than they are about making a big lyrical statement, and Govilkar uses his voice as another instrument in the overall mix. This reminded me of bands like Ride and Slowdive and I love how this album blends elements of prog with shoegaze and ambient dream pop to create something quite unique. There’s a crunchiness to the guitars and an almost psychedelic quality to the feel of many of the tracks, it’s easy to transport yourself somewhere else while listening. When the vocals do come to the fore, like on Waves of Time, the contrast between the two band members’ voices makes it sound extremely evocative.

The change of vocalist makes this almost feel like a completely different band. Shaking off the shackles of the former album’s slightly generic neo-prog trappings, out goes the anthems and in comes an even more atmospheric sound. This time there seems to be a bit more craft to the songs and a little more power to the playing and production. They have definitely not been victims of second album syndrome here, building well on the foundations they laid on their self-titled debut back in 2018. I love the way that the guitars become a complete soundscape at times, enveloping the listener fully in the world of the song. On a track like Small Ideas the shift from big bold metallic sounds to a gentler acoustic feel creates some lovely contrasts and light and shade. In some ways it reminds me of ARKVRST, who put out one of my favourite albums of last year although not quite as dynamic and individual as that record perhaps.

The press release compared the band to Mogwai and on tracks like Farm of Lights I can see why. That track actually features Thomas Huy on vocals rather than Govilkar.

One of the overriding feelings I get from listening to Void, is how much Govilkar’s writing lends itself to film soundtrack work. The album is both visual and visceral in equal measure. This album paints beautiful abstract pictures in my head, sonic landscapes and textures that I can immerse myself in.

The highlight of the album for me is probably the closing track In Circles, I love the way each instrument has a role to play in building the overall feel of the track after the Tubular Bells-style opening.

Despite losing most the band, for me this record is a positive step forward from the record that preceded it. For Govilkar to do this almost singlehandedly and with the support of a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter is testament to his talent and tenacity. Their first album won a number of awards and to my ears, this record is even stronger and more memorable.

01. Wither (1:11)
02. Waves Of Time (5:44)
03. Burning (4:35)
04. Falling Apart (4:17)
05. This Red Sky (8:54)
06. Oblivion (5:52)
07. Small Ideas (7:10)
08. Farm of Lights (5:41)
09. In Circles (6:59)

Total Time – 49:08

Gaurav Govilkar – Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals, Bass, Harmonium
Diane Galen – Drums
~ With:
Thomas Huy – Vocals (8)

Record Label: Independent
Countries of Origin: Germany, U.K.
Date of Release: 18th July 2024

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