A Beautiful Sad

The Coy

Independent Release, 2004


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


The mid/late eighties, and especially the early nineties defined "American alternative music," more importantly "American alternative music, not influenced by the Brits!" Those good old days saw a spurt of quality "college radio" acts bustling with creativity -- like 10,000 Maniacs, Throwing Muses, Sonic Youth, L7, and The Pixies to name a few -- that set the stage for the post-punk American indie music scene, which sadly is defunct today.

Thanks to the British invasion, the American alternative music scene has lost its identity -- not to mention its originality, despite being replete with top-notch acts -- completely, and it is indeed saddening, the fact that that there remains absolutely no difference between the American alternative music scene and the British alternative music scene, now that everyone has started sounding like the British. In the past decade, American indie bands gained acclaim and fame for their individuality, but are now getting praised for imitating the Brits; what a shame!my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It is discomforting but true, the fact that the true American "college radio" music scene today is "alternative" to the prevailing alternative music scene; in bands that find it hard to clinch a record deal, simply because their music doesn't have the "Brit" feel. The Coy is such a band.

Ideally, The Coy should be called a "college radio" band, but with the prevailing college radio scene, they can be called "nineties college radio revivalists." The Coy consists of the married couple Jennifer and Robert Hart: Jennifer sings, and Robert plays the guitars. And, there are guest musicians -- including a rapper named APN, featured on "City" -- that play other instruments, making the music complete.

There was an interesting fact, or rather similarity between most American "college radio" bands of yesteryears: they had strong female lead singers, and the most innovative guitarists; The Coy is very similar in nature to those bands.

Jennifer is an amazing singer. Her high and low notes include neither maddeningly furious screams nor cloying feminine coaxes. She is as impactful as ex-10,000 Maniacs front-woman Natalie Merchant, and as captivating as Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies.

Robert's guitars are inescapable, and are all over the album. Much like Jennifer's vocals, Robert's guitars provide a strong identity to the group's sound. His music has the energy and the unassuming weirdness of the sound that characterized "college radio," back in the yore.

Together, the Hart duo create a world of imaginations, mostly dark, and of common human feelings, written in mostly intelligent and sometimes poetic words, with references to water (drowning and downpour) common to a few numbers.

In this otherwise creative effort, the production stumbles in places, and the sound is at times weakened by the lacking recording quality. Yet, the album turns out a winner. This is just to show that an abundantly talented band can still churn out a quality record, irrespective of the financial limitations that hinder the making of it. The Coy is a band to look out for in the future, and the Harts will hopefully bring back some identity into the American "college music" scene, which has been so badly enslaved by the British.

[ For more info on The Coy and their music, please visit www.thecoy.com]

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent Release, and is used for informational purposes only.