Thursday, December 7, 2023
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Comfort – What’s Bad Enough?

Forget bad enough, worst of all is what strikes fear. Comfort. Their heavy percussion intro to latest album What’s Bad Enough? is a leaf from the ever-popular revitalisation of post-punk punches up at the powers that be. There is no short supply, there is no less demand. Chart the Billionaire Potential. Chase the cheese as their opportunities come and go. Comfort is addicted to winning. Manifesting some success for themselves on that opener, the digitised whines and the higher pitch than expected from Natalie McGhee pair swiftly, shooting through the wit and anger that spills from the overflowing cup of elated punk verses. Find similar ground in the contemporary waves. Comfort has many options to choose from, but they predate most of those who this latest album sounds close to. 

Comfort understands the political scope in song, and what is needed to make it convincing. Real Woman has cutting lyrics featuring well under a dedicated and electronic beat. Sean McGhee’s drum work comes through on Pride of Britain, another well-maintained and biting shot at Britain. It is easy to do that, it is hard to make it sound strong. Benefits utilise power noise, Yard Act a pithy lyrics, Comfort straddle options from both and try to streamline themselves down the middle. Pride of Britain undoes itself with a stronger variation of lyrics bringing power to the people, bleeding Union Red and shouting out against the struggles and strife. Post-punk is back in action, this is what it was when it was cool, and now here it is again. Post-post-punk. Are we beyond the variation of post-punk as a commercially identifiable piece? Post-post? Comfort is doing something right, confident sways from the Glaswegian two-piece. 

What’s Bad Enough? dedicates itself not just to the throes of horror in the streets of Britain but to scummy-feeling instrumentals, blooping and groaning under the stink of a system explained on Born Bad. Edging closer and closer to noise pop, Comfort challenge what they can, where they feel they are needed, and confidently so. Elusive tones and considered interjections from McGhee’s devastating lyrics are a setlist of punches to the powers that be. What’s Bad Enough? brings out the broad cultural downtick of the world around it, rumbling and chortling through decaying streets and salvaging the muck and gluttony of electronica excellence. Obvious pops are obvious because they ring true, not because they are easy targets. Obvious pops are obvious because they ring true, not because they are easy targets, even if some of the later tracks sound like the wonderful experience of being trapped in a dishwasher.  

Like stand-up comedians who are obligated to punch up at those in places of power, Comfort convince of their real desire to hit out at those making the world a worse place. There is plenty to choose from. Too Many to Count understands that, the confident sway of vocal impressions left by Natalie, the essential drumming from Sean through the so-called golden age is a solid attempt at understanding the convoluted and crushing world around us. They pang through with electronic goodness, inherently moving lyrics from the dark heart of democracy. On the nose pop-ready punk shots at the powers that be may be obvious, but until they are resolved, there they remain. You cannot blame the responder for the problem, they are doing what their art means to them, a contemporary smash of the troubles they and others perceive.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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