album reviews

    Cake

    Comfort Eagle

    Columbia

    ***

    Cake has a unique blend of funky sounds and nonsequitur lyrics. In fact, the more I think about it and the more I listen to “”Comfort Eagle,”” the more I think the band emulates a lot of Beck styles in its music.

    Cake is probably better known for the album “”Fashion Nugget,”” which sold more than one million copies and was fueled by the hit song “”The Distance.”” The mellow cover of “”I Will Survive”” also proved to be a catchy tune.

    Cake’s electic sound includes a hip-hop drum beat, surf guitars, a funky bassline, the signature trumpet solos and the half-singing half-rapping vocal stylings of John McCrea.

    And don’t forget the lyrics that sound a lot more strange when you actually give the album a careful listen. Songs on the most recent release (“”Comfort Eagle””) such as “”Opera Singer”” and “”Shadow Stabbing,”” are simply odd — but they are damn catchy. The faux-rap metal song “”Comfort Eagle”” is sure to dazzle and confuse, but like the rest of these songs, it’s incredibly catchy.

    The radio hit “”Short Skirt/Long Jacket”” combines the best of Cake all rolled into one song with funky beats, slick production and lyrics such as, “”I want a girl with the right allocations, who is fast, and thorough, and sharp as a tack.”” The song comes complete with a classic break before the launch of a yell-along chorus and callbacks. And don’t forget the telltale trumpet solo.

    Cake seems to have those songs that encourage the crowd to yell back at the band with fists thrust into the air. Although “”Comfort Eagle”” is not as good as previous works, it is another welcome addition to Cake fans and those who convert after watching Cake at the Sun God festival.

    — Joseph Lee

    Hiatus Editor

    No Use for

    a Name

    Hard Rock Bottom

    Fat Wreck Chords

    ***

    No Use for a Name is part of the pop-punk wave that has gained so much popularity in the past few years. Though largely similar to the myriad of other punk bands swarming in the scene these days, No Use for a Name still manages to pave a unique path along such a traveled route.

    Songs such as “”Dumb Reminders”” have a bittersweet feel; in fact, that is a good expression for the entire album. The mandatory fast-paced, hyper drumming and guitar work that characterizes punk is given the time on the album one would expect, but is alternated with slower, more expressive parts. The most surprising thing on the album is a cover of the Sinead O’Connor song “”This Is a Rebel Song,”” which is complete with a female vocalist.

    There are plenty of songs that are, well … just punk to a non-hardcore fan. “”Any Number Can Play”” sounds like just about any other punk band to emerge in the last few years.

    Don’t expect much deviance from the norm in lyrics; all the songs NUFAN write are pretty much about break-ups and the usual stuff.

    Despite their hardcore moniker, some of the best sounds come out not when NUFAN are pounding out as many power chords as possible; the softer intros on tracks like “”Let Me Down”” offer a respite that is sonically refreshing.

    In the end, “”Hard Rock Bottom”” isn’t a revolutionary album, but it’s not dangerously generic either. True, it is a bit bland at times: People who don’t wet themselves with desire over a catchy punk album might not find too much to keep their attention long. NUFAN sound like what they are, a So-Cal punk band, if that’s your thing, go for the gusto!

    — Rinaldo Dorman

    Associate Hiatus Editor

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