The “Narwhal” album from Undersmile was a brilliant, if desultory experience, and I was very interested to see what this, their acoustic alter ego would bring to the table. It’s a split between Undersmile (electric) and Coma Wall (same band, no electricity) and it’s an interesting experience. Undersmile hinge on hitherto unseen levels of sludge-y slowness and the Medusa / Siren like vocal harmonies of the two singers and Coma Wall utilize the same assets but in a slightly less menacing way. The menace is still there but its honey coated, like the vocals, which replace the sinister croaking of Undersmile with an almost country feel. That would be the banjo I guess. Yeah, they play banjos and this combined with the acoustic guitars means that it would be understandable to confuse this with folk-y Americana. Not a bad thing I guess but it’s not an area I tend to explore much. The Coma Wall side of this 12” doesn’t explode into your ears but the songs are well-crafted and if you like Undersmile then you’ll enjoy it especially the sluggish breakdown in “Cutters Choice” that lets the bass and drum skeleton poke through the ornamental skin.
The Undersmile side of this album is by far the strongest. Whether it has the unfair advantage of electricity on its side I don’t know, but it also turns up the evil knob and you only have to listen to the first 2 and a half minutes to realise that they’re much better at being evil than folk-y. Great riffs, great vocals and a suitably bulky follow up to “Narwhal”.