Starkly powerful songs underpin Coram's disc By WAYNE BLEDSOE, firstname.lastname@example.org November 5, 2006 Mark Coram may be the best local singer-songwriter you've never heard. Full disclosure: Coram is a News Sentinel employee, and I've been one of the lucky few to hear Coram's demos since the days The Rattlehounds, his former band, were still pups. The new album, 'Garageicana,' finally gives the general public a chance to tap into Coram's talents. It's not an album that sounds like a debut (Coram's only previous release is an EP with The Rattlehounds, released after the death of drummer and News Sentinel reporter Mike Flannagan). With able contributions by Tim Lee Band core Tim Lee (guitar) and Susan Bauer Lee (bass) and drummer/producer Don Coffey Jr. (formerly of Superdrag), 'Garageicana' sounds like the work of a seasoned veteran. A student of classic rock from the 1960s and '70s, along with studies in the early alt-country movement, Coram constructs songs that are tight, unpretentious and believable. When he sings about a femme fatale on 'She's a Catastrophe,' there's little doubt that it's a girl he's met: 'She's a kamikaze in a skirt/With a look that renders my rage inert/I think she loves, but she loves to hurt/Look what she does to me/She's a catastrophe ' On 'I'll Let You Stay (If You Let Me Leave),' Coram bitterly calls it quits with an unfaithful lover in no-nonsense terms: 'You can have the house/I just want the car/I'm gonna see this country/from bar to bar ' He also offers a fine Gothic ballad, 'Anna Brown.' Coram is a modest vocalist, but his songs don't call for passion or a wide range. His dry delivery actually helps emphasize the simple power of his melodies and lyrics. 'Garageicana' could hardly be more aptly named. Check out the reverb-laden riffs on 'Come On Down' and overall Southern twang of the disc. The six-minute conclusion of 'She's a Catastrophe' is a garage-rock tour de force with Tim Lee cranking out some particularly smart licks and Coffey and Susan Bauer Lee pounding the beats into your soul. 'Garageicana' is an arresting disc by a local artist whose work should appeal to far more than the local market.