Community College - 'Comco'

The Magical Possibility of Unlearning: A Review of Community College’s Comco

Boston based trio Community College just debuted their full-length album Comco on March 8 via Disposable America. The trio uses their songwriting to document the process of unlearning their extremely evangelical upbringing.

As much as we are constantly learning, we are constantly unlearning. The habits, vices, ideas, values that parents, old boyfriend or girlfriends, school, friends, have taught us so fickley have translated to how we think, talk, breathe, and live. This album is more about this. How do you become your own person? And what happens when all your values crumble like sand castles in front of you?

The lyrics aren't anything extravagant, they are simple and in this simplicity, you can find the profound. The way saying “I love you” can be so powerful and changing. The song “Novocaine” introduces the listener to the sadness consuming his life. The numbing agent is so wonderfully metaphor to the depression that comes into his life. A time where it is hard to feel, hard to smile, hard to live. Everything exists in waves. The 2010s have been turbulent troublesome years. Everything can feel desolate. Shooting after shooting, the rise of white nationalism, a general feeling of being unsafe. It’s hard to feel hopeful sometimes.

In “Gasoline” the voice and guitar chords change. The oh’s are painful, just a croak quivering on the vocal cords just right before a vocal break. It is like looking at a girl you used to love kissing another boy and realizing she’s moved on and you’re just existing like a dinosaur who has turned to gasoline waiting... just waiting to be used up, for your prolonged existence to just end. Or getting a fatally somber drunk, going to the bathroom to take a piss, seeing your face in the mirror and not exactly liking what you see but not knowing what to do with this news. A slow crescendo where they finally coalesce into one sound at the utter of the words “honesty is trouble to me.”

“Drunk On Sunday Morning” comes into the thick of depression. Depression, where things just aren't how they used to be. Even getting off becomes mundane and dumb. You’re tired, then you’re up for 36 hours. You’re hot, then cold. Everything doesn't change and somehow does. The landscape is too unfamiliar. It’s warping. Your insides don't feel right, like gasoline. You sleep all day yet you are still tired all the time. There is a sag to your bones, weight in your marrow.

The album ends with the song “Fine” marking coming out the depressive hole. It becomes gradually more upbeat but still somber. The song marks a change into a period of growth with hunger, sleep, and a new tattoo. Self-care isn’t always exciting, sometimes it regulating basic human behavior and needs. “Do you feel fine?,” things like these checking in with yourself so one day we can be fine and mean it. Even when you do the right things you cannot always feel “fine” there is no exact way to be “better.”

Although many great individual songs, an album is more than that. An album is a cohesive sound that needs variety. Humans love repetition, it’s comforting. We’ll make order out of disorder just to sleep at night. However, in art, we seldom do. Although songs like “Fine” break the mold in this album, a greater range and experimentation would elevate Community College’s Comco. The arc the album has presented is beautiful with the introduction of the numbing to becoming “fine.” The simple songwriting effortlessly describes this lingering sadness and has great power to it. I am excited to see what comes from Community College.

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Written by Rosa Pyo