With five tracks displaying sufficient command of genre and form, Cold Comfort’s self-titled debut release Cold Comfort EP is a stock exposure to the piney Pacific Northwest blues and folk-tinged rock sound. It’s a friendly roadmap through the genre, but one most have committed to memory.
Dekker "Robert James" Deen, Andrew "Hans" Jauhola, Ryan "Oliver" Crace, Dakota "James" Lupton and Dustin "Michael" Ryerson (for some reason every member has a nickname) hold listeners with soft, pink hands throughout the entirety of this 19-minute release. The experience is always assured, but rarely surprising. Take, for example, the opening track “Revolutionaries” with its all-too-familiar instrumentation, structure and faux-Of Monsters and Men vocal delivery. To the mainstream music fan, Cold Comfort is a more talented Mumford and Sons minus the hooks.
At times these five musicians dabble in layered instrumentation and aggressive tempo changes such as on “Does it Matter,” marking a significantly different sound when paired with the aforementioned “Revolutionaries.” With harsh, and a times, dissonant vocals, layered instrumentation and jammy passages, the group reminds me of The Republic of Wolves.
The second track "Gone " is a catchy, anthemic song that contains an explosive, blue-collar like swagger. Make sure not to miss the loose lead guitar. "Modern Gangster" is a very well written song that contains inventive rhythmic swings by the drummer while "Train" has a tinge of Spaghetti Western.
The band’s ceiling could be a sound artist such as Dr. Dog or Tigers on Trains that band is currently exploring, but this first release largely fails to dispel comparisons to the likes of The Lumineers.
The EP is sometimes held back by its relentless teeter-tottering between lowbrow indulgences and refreshing, challenging folk rock. To be sure, Cold Comfort EP is the work of practiced musicians, and these five songs display a rare polish for a first release (credit Conor Sisk with superb record work).
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