review: The Coathangers – Parasite

a2728717029_16review by Kate Whaite
Reviewing this EP is my very first experience with The Coathangers. I don’t know how that’s possible, but I am very much in love at first listen and so excited to dip into to their back-catalogue.
Apparently while I was oblivious, The Coathangers (Julia Kugel on guitar, Meredith Franco on bass, Stephanie Luke on drums, and everybody on vocals) have been in Atlanta making cracking rock tunes for over a decade. Title track ‘Parasite’ sounds like the soundtrack of the cool kids’ Halloween party I never got invited to. I can’t think of a better way to explain it.
‘Wipe Out’ introduces a more melodic note, showing an appealing lyrical weary contempt for the vicious circle of drinking, embarrassing yourself, being hungover, getting sober, and doing it all again. Only they say it more concisely — “Wipeout, dry up, can’t stop” goes the chorus. It is probably physically impossible not to bop along to this song, and with the catchy, sing-song, call and reply of “Say you’re sorry” you’ll be singing along, too. And I haven’t even mentioned the handclaps! I love handclaps.
‘Captain’s Dead’ stands out as a tasty piece of summer garage. It’s exactly the kind of thing you want to be blasting as you pull a beer out of the cooler at a barbeque where you and all your friends are having a sundrenched endless afternoon. You should definitely wear sunglasses while you listen to this.
“Captain of a Dixie Cup/ You thought you had it all but you made it up” sounds like such an innocent insult, but cuts so deeply. They’ve made a pleasingly weird video for this tune as well.
‘Down Down’ is haunting and seductive and its energy reminds me of The Kills’ early records. Lyrics like “Don’t worry about me/ I don’t need you at all” reinforce that The Coathangers are just doing whatever they want and not really caring if you like it or not, which everyone knows is the best way to do anything. The vocals in this are particularly enchanting — raw and scratchy in such an unpretentious way as to actually let you believe in the honesty of the expression.
The closer, ‘Drifter’, is slower and a touch wistful, reminiscent of early rock and roll love songs. A little vulnerability peeks out here, with the vocalist sweetly asking “I heard you saying something/Was it all about me?” I, for one will definitely be talking to everyone I know about The Coathangers. The Parasite EP is great from start to finish. It’s got a comfy DIY feel, simple arrangements that mean nothing comes between you and the tunes, and a good sense of fun.
Go check them out at their bandcamp.
Don’t mind me, I’ll just be obsessing over this band all summer.
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