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Bar Harbor, ME quintet Coke Weed could be a Velvet Underground cover band and devastate the tribute band circuit. The group is fronted by singers Nina Donghia and Milan McAlevey’s catchy interplay, with focus on Donghia’s smoky, dry tone – Nico reincarnate. Nuanced by carefree cool, her voice makes a seamless bridge with the backing psychedelic instrumentation. Shoegazing guitars tightened for melodic emphasis, coupled boy/girl vocals, unhurried tempos and fuzzy rhythms fill the backdrop.
Storming the gate with “Sunseekers,” the opening song and one of Back to Soft’s catchiest tracks has the cocky rambling rhythm of Velvet Undergrounds “Sister Ray.” The strutting drum and bass collide with Donghia’s smoldering vocals, sung hauntingly, “He caught you by surprise / You didn’t want to live on / That’s what it was / No one’s here to blame you / It was the first time you saw your kind running free” (“Sunseekers”).▼ Article continues below ▼
The album is filled with analog richness, unpolished guitars, jangly cymbals, chattering tambourines and Donghia’s voice assuredly centering Back to Soft. Recorded in the bands home studio, Coke Weed’s third album beams from a solid experimentally vintage rock n’ roll foundation, and harnesses all the right inspiration.