CD Review

Mike Comfort – “Free”

By Marcus Pan

FreeI just finished reviewing the worst CD to come in this month (Hypnotique), and I will now treat myself to reviewing one of the best CDs to come in this month. Mike Comfort is one of the top singer/songwriters I've found yet, and while his music isn't typically "Legends" like, I will review it for two reasons: 1) It does have a punky edge to it and I do/will write about punk and 2) It's really freaking good.

I've held off writing this review as long as I could, justifying with spinning this CD 2-3 times a day with, "Well I have to write about it soon." And then promptly writing other reviews so that I will always, at least, have SOMETHING good to listen to in the recent stash of poop. But alas, time has come to write Free up…but I’ll probably carry the CD around in my bag anyway.

Beginning in 2002 as the band Thirst, they thrilled northern California with their upbeat sound, honest rock ‘n roll and great performances. By September 2004 real life got in the way and Thirst was disbanded. Mike Comfort's Free has its roots in the band Thirst and includes some of the best alterna-rock, bold faced and feel good rock 'n roll to hit the streets in years. Indie to the core, with Mike's well versed lyrics and original vocal quality, it's a wonder why Thirst or, today Mike himself, hasn't been picked up by a major label.

Throughout Free there's song about many subjects – from drunkenness (Hit the Floor, The Toast) to love (Pledge, Story of Your Smile), coming of age (Someday) and loneliness (Falling Away). While Comfort's music and content isn't our usual dark laced stuff, it is comparable to work by Saints of 35th Street(1), Collective Soul, Soul Asylum or Small Engine Metropolis(2). A little bit of punk, a little bit of rock and whole lot of feeling.

This is one of those few albums where there are no bad songs. There's soft ballads like Life Goes On, punk anthems like Hit the Floor and Someday as well as touching love songs like In My Eyes (which starts us off) and the hidden gem at the end which isn't listed on the album which, based on lyrics, I assume is called Simplify. Mike's lyrics are simple in fact, but are built with such heart and soul and feeling that even the seemingly mundane (eye colors, beauty and growing up) becomes powerfully artistic.

Mike Comfort could easily dwarf all that is alternative rock and punk on the radio today and do so with much more heart. Easily one of the best songwriters I have ever heard, his work stands as one of the best examples of life put to music. Even the most stonehearted cynic and critic is going to feel something here. I did...plenty in fact.

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(1) Reviewed in Legends #125.
(2) Also reviewed in Legends #125.

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