Move over, Pussy Riot, here come the COMA CATS, an all-female punk garage band hailing from Scotland’s capital! With a deliberately unpolished sound and lyrics that range from ambiguous to full-on aggressive, it’s fair to say the outfit doesn’t give a rat’s arse about technical fineries and other boring aspects… which so obviously clash with punk rocks’ unwritten ethics.
COMA CAT crashed onto the Edinburgh music scene only about a year ago but it didn’t take long until they could be seen (and most definitely be heard!) on assorted stages and even record shops across the capital and beyond. The trio consists of self-confessed anglophile Sha Rivari (main vox and guitar), while fellow cats Red Ribela (guitar and backing vox) and Fi Banshee (drums) provide the musical support. Inspired by all the crap life throws at us - such as illness, sexism, loneliness, or xenophobia (in short, all sorts of ‘angsty’ things) – the band’s focus lies on bringing raw emotions and messages across rather than impress us with skilful musical wizardry. As the band puts it: “Impressive but soulless technical exercises are not our style. We rather shed then shred.” Therefore it should perhaps come to no surprise that Coma Cat’s sound is minimalist by default, given the fact that each member is still relatively new to their instruments. Anyway, since when did that ever matter in the world of garage-punk?
Scratch is the trio’s aptly titled first EP and it offers four tracks full of hope, anger and beyond. Opener ‘Red Wednesday’ starts with ferocious drum-beats laced with equally ferocious riffs to let the listener know what the curse of a menstruation feels like: “It’s time to throw a brick, it’s red Wednesday”. The beat then slows down considerably (“When red Wednesday comes along / it is usually quite strong / but it only takes a week or so until it’s gone”), perhaps indicative of looming amnesia due to blood-loss. Genius, and oh so bold! ‘Pacify Me’ is a feverish exercise about restlessness and inner turmoil, with Sha lending a clear voice to an otherwise frenzied composition.
A fuzzy voice and snarling guitar sounds invite us to listen to ‘Song Of The Day’ – with Sha lamenting a partial shutdown, a total breakdown, a public meltdown… all the while defying conformity and remaining true to her gut feelings: “I did not play along. I did not sing their song!” These are of course highly individual and highly ambiguous lyrics, yet all the better for it as we can weave our own interpretations into the words. Closing track – and undisputed piece de resistance – is ‘Angerland’ – a seething and in-your-face bollocks-to-Brexit comment – hitting the contemporary Zeitgeist like nothing else! At the time of writing it’s still unclear whether we’re leaving the EU on October 31st or whether the Brexit stalemate is set to go on… and on… hopefully resulting in cancelling this farce altogether. Here’s wishful thinking! “Welcome to Angerland, where everyone is white, where everyone is male and drinks real ale. Where everything is great again, we’re fostering hate again. Don’t come to Angerland, stay out of Brexitland. Taking back control.” A rather poignant video goes hand in hand with the track, here’s the YouTube link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Nig-ACg71L4
‘Scratch EP’ was recorded in Newcastle with Anne Lanourieux of punk-pop due THE NOISE AND THE NAÏVE and was funded using a recording bursary from the Girls Rock School in Edinburgh. It will be available as CD, cassette tape and limited (20 copies) 10” vinyl (how very punk!). You can also digitally download the EP on Bandcamp.