Top positive review
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Watch out, this acquired taste can become addictive!
on May 13, 2011
Cake's style is the definition of quirky, and it hasn't changed at all from their first album: monotone-ish lead singer vox, acoustic and electric guitar, a small brass section and an enthusiastic drumbeat underpinning it all. There's a supplement of background chorus shouts every now and then, putting me in mind of a Punk influence. The lyrics are smart, more coffehouse-style poetry than anything else, and each track covers a wide variety of subjects from romantic musings to Austrian noblemen. The ironic served up with the sincere -- yep, that's Cake all right.
Comfort Eagle has a few standout tracks and a lot of milder ones which grew on me. Short Skirt/Long Jacket is the big hit that first grabbed me, an upbeat tribute to the modern dream girl who is "touring the facility and picking up slack" while her nails "shine like justice" and she "uses a machete to cut through red tape". The title track Comfort Eagle is a strange compare/contrast mashup of religious cults, the music business, and television shopping channels--but it was absolutely useless to resist that beat, and I was chorusing along with it and stomping my heels in time on the second listen. I would have clapped my hands, too, if I hadn't been driving. Love You Madly is a bold declaration of love exactly as the title suggests, my third favorite track for its fast pace and tuneful sincerity. Subtler tracks such as Meanwhile, Rick James..., Shadow Stabbing, Arco Arena and Long Line of Cars took a few more listens as they were slower and more thoughtful, but still quite well-crafted. In a more mellow mood, those are my tracks of choice. Commissioning a Symphony in C is an unusual track about the patrons of the arts way back in the days of Mozart, nice enough but I never go out of my way to seek it out. The only track I can honestly report as an "avoid" is the first one, Opera Singer. Please don't let its bad placement in the lineup discourage you from the rest of this fun and intelligently made album!
Consistency of style and great musicianship: if you have enjoyed any of Cake's radio hits in the past (Never There, Going the Distance), you will know exactly what you're in for when buying Comfort Eagle. This album is IMO their overall best effort to date, showcasing the band's personality and independant flavor to perfection. Do try!