Near-Life Experience

Near-Life Experience is the third studio album by Boston alternative rock band Come, released in May 1996 on Matador Records in the US and on Domino Records in the UK.

Near-Life Experience
Near-Life Experience.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 21st, 1996
RecordedNovember 1995 - December 1995
Idful Music Corp, Chicago
Fort Apache, Cambridge
GenreAlternative rock
LabelMatador Records
Domino Records
ProducerAndy Bryant
Wally Gagel
John McEntire
Come chronology
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Near-Life Experience
Gently, Down the Stream
Singles from Near-Life Experience
  1. "Secret Number"
    Released: April 1996
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars link
CMJ New Music MonthlyPositive link
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars link
MagnetPositive link
Musichound3.5/5 stars link
OptionPositive link


After Come's 1994 release Don't Ask Don't Tell, bassist Sean O'Brien and drummer Arthur Johnson left the band to pursue other careers. Remaining members Chris Brokaw and Thalia Zedek recorded Near Life Experience with two different rhythm sections: one half of the album was recorded with drummer Mac McNeilly of the Jesus Lizard and Bundy K. Brown of Tortoise and Gastr Del Sol, the other half recorded with Kevin Coultas and Tara Jane O'Neil of Rodan and The Sonora Pine. Other contributors to the album included Edward Yazijian from Kustomized and Jeff Goddard from Karate, both rock bands hailing from Boston, MA.

The title of the album resulted from "a slip of the tongue,"[1] as Zedek states, she "was telling someone [she had] had a 'near life experience,' but meant to say near death experience. Chris [Brokaw] was cracking up at the imagery of that."[2] Thus, the phrase was chosen as the album's title.

In April 1996, the song "Secret Number" was released as a single, featuring "Prize" and "Hurricane II", a piano version of Near-Life Experience's opening track, as b-sides.



  • Mac McNeilly – drums on "Hurricane", "Secret Number", "Bitten", and "Half Life"
  • Bundy K. Brown – bass on "Hurricane", "Secret Number", "Bitten", and "Half Life"
  • Jeff Goddard – trumpet on "Bitten"
  • Ed Yazijian – violin on "Hurricane"
  • Beth Heinberg – piano on "Hurricane", organ on "Weak as the Moon" and "Sloe-Eyed"
  • Nancy Asch – percussion on "Weak as the Moon" and "Half Life"
  • Kevin Coultas – drums on "Weak as the Moon", "Shoot Me First", "Walk On's", and "Sloe-Eyed"
  • Tara Jane O'Neil – bass on "Weak as the Moon", "Shoot Me First", "Walk On's", and "Sloe-Eyed", and vocals on "Sloe-Eyed"
  • John McEntire – marimba on "Walk On's"

Track listingEdit

2."Weak as the Moon"Come4:11
3."Secret Number"Come4:02
5."Shoot Me First"Come3:44
6."Walk On's"Come3:17
7."Half Life"Come3:26

Critical receptionEdit

In its review of the album, CMJ New Music Monthly stated: "Near-Life Experience is heavier, and at the same time prettier, than Come has ever sounded."[3] The Rough Guide to Rock asserted that the album "came from a totally revitalized band," going on to state that "[t]ighter, more focused songwriting, better overall musicianship and a readiness to trim the flab from the longer pieces resulted in a powerful album, ready to step outside the neo-blues framework towards a gentler, more reflexive sound."[4] Option magazine's review of the album maintained that "much of Near Life Experience seems to echo Sticky Fingers' druggy, smoldering ambience," adding that "these eight harrowing tracks are as muscular and original as anything promised by Come's first two LPs. This shit is pure."[5] Similarly, Trouser Press stated that "Zedek's affinity for narcoleptic waltz-time constructions — like the one that wraps around "Hurricane" — has never been more apropos, given the dazed tone of most of the album's eight songs, particularly the pair that ramble forward led by Brokaw's parched lead vocals."[6][7] The Minnesota Daily described the album as "just about perfect,"[8] whilst Alternative Press magazine states that "[r]ather than sounding like a disjointed all-star jam, Near Life Experience emerges as Come’s strongest, most cohesive moment to date."[9]


  1. ^ ""Come Keeps Dripping on Near-Life Experience", beermelodies, originally published in Hits magazine". Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  2. ^ ""Come Keeps Dripping on Near-Life Experience", beermelodies, originally published in Hits magazine". Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  3. ^ CMJ New Music Monthly, July 1996. July 1996. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  4. ^ (Firm), Rough Guides (2003). Buckley, Peter (ed.), The Rough Guide to Rock, p. 221. ISBN 9781858284576. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  5. ^ Option magazine, Vols. 66-71 (Sonic Options Network, 1996), p. 97. 1996. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  6. ^ Robbins, Ira A. (1997). Robbins, Ira A., The Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock: The All-New Fifth Edition of The Trouser Press Record Guide (Simon & Schuster, 1997), p. 163. ISBN 9780684814377. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  7. ^ "Trouser Press website". Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  8. ^ "Kallberg, Ryan, "Coming Down", Minnesota Daily". February 1998. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  9. ^ "Ferguson, Jason, "Them's Not The Breaks: Despite the departure of their rhythm sections, Jason Ferguson discovers the best is yet to Come", Alternative Press, No. 100". November 1996. Retrieved 2013-03-27.