Let's get it out of the way, shall we? There's nothing new here, but that doesn't mean Cake's newest album isn't well worth a few hundred listens. The washed-out pastels and retro cover art are the same as before, as is their quirky brand of intelligent, sardonic and infectious pop. Seamless compositions of funk, jazz, rockabilly and a little more classical than usual showcase Cake's trademark catchiness, both in terms of catchy melodies and hope-to-catch lyrics.
The first single, "Short Skirt/Long Jacket," is a case in point. The riff is vintage Lou Reed - as in "Sweet Jane" -- but it's like Lou Reed in love. And the object of such desire is the kind of girl who wants a reliable car with "cupholder armrests" and is "fast and thorough and sharp as a tack," all punctuated by a joyous Los Lobos-esque trumpet section.
John McCrea's sonorously intoned vocals seduce and beckon on ironic little numbers like "Meanwhile Rick James..." with its unprintable chorus, but they also cajole and threaten, especially on the cynical title track. A critique of the music industry in general and music industry executives in specific, McCrea's lyrics ("He knows about your party, he is calling you 'dude,'" are delivered against a driving guitar and a hypnotic Persian arabesque.
All in all, Comfort Eagle doesn't cover much new territory and some people might not wanna buy a new CD that's all too much like their other Cake albums. But if you really like this kind of thing -- and I do -- it's worth adding to your collection.