Nashville’s Creature Comfort calls themselves “Indie Space Rock.” This very accurately describes their sound (spanky, clean guitars soaked in echo and woozy synths bending in and out of tune with themselves), but it leaves one thing out that I think is a huge reason to give this band your attention: Their songwriting. On their latest EP, Echoes and Relics, out now, the writing is in full display over the top of a crisp, well-rehearsed band.
The lyrics are clear, clever, and meaningful, and lead singer Jessey Clark’s declamatory style of singing contrasts the band’s lush, tight dream-pop orchestration. Themes of guilt, shame, andself-doubt pervade the record, yet leave me with a feeling of redemption upon finishing. First of all, listen to Blue Blood (Dark Boy),
Remembering what you said
When you told me
I was your only friend
Shed the secrets of your sin
Losers lose and winners win.
Speaking to himself? Speaking to a friend in a rut? Either way, it speaks to the listener. The tambourines shake, the guitars sparkle, the basslines move up and down, and above it all, Clark’s voice stands out. It’s honest and not overly affected.
When a band has such skilled musicians, they can show off as much as they want, and there are select moments where Nick Rose takes a smart, classic-sounding guitar solo or peppers in a quick fill here or there. Drummer Taylor Cole is on showcase for the whole EP. Cole Bearden’s basslines move quickly through every song. They’re not showy, but they sure are good. The bass is active and an interesting layer to keep track of on successive listens. The synths are very well-chosen, and form a perfect backdrop, even ending the album with a set of 8-bit arpeggios.
The key here is that the band doesn’t show off for 5 straight tracks. They marry their playing perfectly with the songs themselves, allowing the listener to choose what to listen to, which is perfect.
The fourth track, Sugar Cookies, begins with a back-and-forth sequence of sunny, indie-pop guitars, replete with echo, and frenetic, youthful vibrato. The drums lay down a classic tom-tom beat, matching perfectly with both an electric bass guitar and a synth bass riff. Then all of a sudden the lyrics begin with
If my mother tries to bake another batch of sugar cookies I will freak.
You either think “yes!!” or “What?”
For me, those are the two ideal outcomes.
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