Across multiple conversations I’ve had with music journalist Lance Conzett, it has been discussed that Rock music has lost its cultural significance over the past two decades. In 2020, genres hardly matter anymore but looking back at the past two decades, it’s clear that Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop and, to some extent, Country have outranked good ole Rock n’ Roll in terms of the cultural zeitgeist. That sentiment is, by no means, a bad thing. Nor does it mean that there aren’t plenty of great Rock records being churned out every day; it’s just a contextual consideration when consider the success of Creature Comfort’s full-length Home Team.
Making a Rock Record in 2020 comes with the decades of baggage filled with male bravado, chauvinism and a generally “ugh” feeling about the “rock and roll lifestyle.” Ask someone to name three huge rock bands and they’ll likely reply with the likes of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Aerosmith or a long list of artists that come with more horrible stories of sexual exploitation and debauchery than anyone should feel comfortable with. Creature Comfort’s Home Team shakes off all of that dirt and serves up an album that is infectiously memorable, filled with soaring moments and soaking in optimism.
“Black Cat” is a particularly stand-out example of this feeling as the track layers on guitars below a chorus of layered sing-along harmonies, creating an uplifting feeling that is damn near euphoria. “Single Soul”, “Arcade Fire”* and “Candle” follow this model and manage to successfully sound unique on each track while still forcing an uncontrollable smile while listening. One can easily imagine being pressed in a crowd watching the band perform these songs with Good Vibes pouring out of everyone around you (in a pre-COVID world of course).
There are many variations on “Rock” – the dark psychedelic work of a Tame Impala, the bouncy noodle-y work of Phish and their ilk or even the twisted sneer of Ween – but Creature Comfort’s Home Team is a much more accessible piece of work. It’s nuanced and wildly creative in the instrumentation they choose to leave but balanced in a way that you couldn’t put it in some niche categorization.
After months of promo for the record (six preview singles!), the album is now streaming everywhere and available on Bandcamp if you’d like to support them directly. With Home Team, Creature Comfort proves that rock and roll has plenty of quality left to offer.
* While reviewing this, it dawned on me that Arcade Fire (the band) has a song called “Creature Comfort” and now Creature Comfort (the band) has a song called “Arcade Fire.” Just an bit of clever enjoyment there.