On United Waters and "Coma To Coma" by Ben Chasny
With “Coma To Coma”, United Waters continues even further down the road of the perfect melted song. Chords drip and flow into each other at a pace equal to honey at 35 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s this viscosity that sets United Waters apart from any other band that engages in the song-form. Achievement obtained not by the newest pedals or computer effects, but by playing slightly out of this dimension. It’s as if the band discovered one of those theoretical multiverses, perhaps one named ‘All Things Are Sticky’, and slip back and forth between there and here in order to write their music. It’s a sound completely unique yet a sound you knew existed without ever having heard it before.
Years ago, guitarist Brian Sullivan was most well-known for his ability to turn sound waves into great, leveling forces of sonic annihilation with his band Mouthus. Yet even there, we heard this nascent sound of the melted song hiding inside crushing volume. With United Waters, Brian brings the song forward and allows it to reveal itself to be the true driving force of his music. Where as in Mouthus the song-form hid underneath intimidating levels of volume, in United Waters the song-form transfigures into a new body that reveals new energies with subtle lines of force. “Coma To Coma” takes that new body and refines it even further than their previous records. Imagine the painter Francis Bacon sonically slicing and transmogrifying the songs on Lindsey Buckingham’s Law And Order and you will begin to orient yourself to the sound of “Coma to Coma.”
I’ve been trying to think of a word or phrase that best describes “Coma To Coma” and as far as I can tell it doesn’t exist. It would have to be something that meant melancholic but without any hint of sadness and simultaneously shot through with bliss. It would imply a sense of time that flows and rejects segmentation. It would signify a feeling of completeness. In lieu of such a word or phrase, I predict the title of this record soon becomes a used phrase to convey such a feeling among its listeners. One can imagine sitting alone in the grass at sunset and getting a text from a friend inquiring, “how you doin?” and replying, “Coma To Coma.”
In the cabinet in my mind where I store files on things I don’t understand, there’s a hefty one on United Waters. How do they compose music that sounds so flowing yet all play in time together? How does one write melodies that sound so classic yet manage to evoke new emotions? Why does Brian sound so cool when he sings? How does the percussion sound both electronic yet totally organic? These are some of the notes I’ve scribbled in my United Waters file. “Coma To Coma” does nothing to answer any of my questions and in fact might even raise a few more, the biggest one being: Why are United Waters not the popular band in the world right now?
- Ben Chasny (Six Organs Of Admittance), McKinleyville, CA 2019
"Coma To Coma" Info…
"Coma to Coma" is the fourth album from United Waters.
Mastered by Josh Bonati and pressed on 180-gram vinyl, the limited LP comes in a gorgeous full-color sleeve accompanied by a full-color inner-sleeve and 22x22 fold out poster. An unlimited digital version is also available.
In addition, for mail-order only, we are including another collection of music from United Waters. It's a cassette EP of more new material. Both are a must have!