The Creature Comforts: The Politics of Pop

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By Wes Long

While skimming over the Creature Comforts’ press release I unearthed a few interesting nuggets on the self described “prairie rock” band that I’d never heard of. Reportedly the Creatures are a great live act and the fact that they’ve opened for an ever-swank collection of musical cruiserweights (Dinosaur Jr, Everclear, Fastball and Mudhoney) supports that notion like a Wonderbra. I was all set to sing the praises of this seemingly obscure band when I read that this adrenaline packed CD landed the boys a Grammy for best album. Apparently I’ve been living in overrated movie hell (you know, with Tom Hanks on an island) for the past year. That’s the half-empty portion of the glass. The half-full bit would indicate that my editor really digs what I’m doing to hook me with a white-hot album that’s taken the world by storm! Either way, it’s about time that a kick ass rock outfit with bravado-drenched barroom riffs and the occasional early Costello-cool lyric got some props from the big boys.

On songs like the jet fueled “Sentimental Bliss” and “Charmed I’m Sure” these Creatures chuck out jagged spires of power pop with carefully tooled hooks and lyrics you’ll actually be rewarded for paying attention to. The opening track will snag you with the line “living in the great state of denial”, and by the time you reach “On Hold for the Holidays” and catch the nod to Big Star you’ll be flopping around in the boat.

The (Elvis Costello and the) Attractions-like keyboard stomp of “The Politics of Pop” will have you longing for the post punk ‘80s and frantically digging through your closets for your collection of rust specked rock badges. (Check the water stained box behind the Haircut 100 album).

The more stripped down moments, “Constant Reminder” and “World’s Smallest Violin”, tote a Buffalo Tom type grit and an Evan Dando (Lemonheads) feel. The “prairie rock” label fits these earthy stripped down songs nicely.

Still, even though it’s a damn good CD I’m actually more than a bit shocked that it captured a Grammy for best album. I better read that again. Wait a minute, what the hell? That doesn’t say Grammy. Oh well. Apparently the tourniquet-tight sphinctered folks at the big show could learn a little bit from the Klammies. (Kansas City Music Awards)

Let’s see how much email I get from disgruntled Steely Dan fans that failed to get past the first paragraph.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/creaturecomforts-politics/