Comfort Cat & Friends New Album ‘Consumption’

Comfort Cat, who sings these twelve songs, is a vocalist that plays a guitarlele, which is a six-stringed ukulele. These friends include Jason Laney playing keyboards and providing percussion, and bassist/guitarist Dan Veksler. Originally from the west coast, Comfort Cat has played music in New York City fifteen years now.

There are a wide range of feelings explored on this release. Opener, “Animal,” features Comfort Cat expressing primal emotions, even screaming angerly. It’s an off-putting way to open an album. On it, Comfort Cat, indeed sounds more animalistic than human.

As a vocalist, Comfort Cat has a voice that can be quite pretty. However, whenever pushing this voice to emotional screams, as on “Animal,” there are some pitch problems. Many of these songs have short titles. Ones like “Joshua,” “Leaves,” Worms,” “Seagulls” and “This” only have a single word as their titles. While folk and acoustic rock are the primary genres explored with Comfort Cat’s music, “Free Bleeding” sports a prominent keyboard part, and even includes a jazzy key solo.

Comfort Cat sounds equal parts sad and angry throughout this recording. Comfort Cat is certainly someone that uses music as an emotive tool. While the production is simple and sparse, Comfort Cat still sounds like an artist having fun. For instance, before “Everyone Leaves” begins, studio chatter can be heard, with Comfort Cat laughing and asking if the tape is running.

It’s not clear where the album’s title comes from. There is no song titled “Consumption,” and there are no songs named after ingestible foods – unless you would consider “Worms” as such. One titled “Joshua” gives a clue about Comfort Cat’s life when Comfort Cat admits to trying to live the corporate life, only to find that this performer is not cut out for such a lifestyle. Not everybody can put on dress clothes each day and go to work at a city cubicle – especially those that are artists. Artists need so much more freedom than any desk job can ever provide. Comfort Cat strikes the listener as just such a free spirit; one that requires plenty of elbow room.

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Many of these tracks sound like early punk rock, sans that genre’s usual electric amplification. Come to think of it, Comfort Cat doesn’t seem to require too much amplification. This singer is not shy, nor reluctant to make a loud noise and get noticed.

One potential dilemma is how Comfort Cat is far too animated to fit in with the acoustic folk set, and yet may be too acoustic to please rockers. This album fits somewhere between these wide spectrum markers. The song called “Worms,” is – surprisingly – one of the album’s prettiest tracks in places. It includes a really nice acoustic intro.

Consumption is a good listening experience for anybody that needs an emotional release valve. Just as great basketball players are described as ‘leaving it all out there on the court,’ Comfort Cat certainly holds absolutely nothing back.

Comfort Cat’s music is anything but comforting. Unlike an actual comfort cat, which is often needed to calm nerves, Comfort Cat does just the opposite. This album is a stimulant more powerful than black coffee or any energy drink.

-Dan MacIntosh