Published on 13th October 2018
Cold Comfort – Chemical Butterflies
Imagine if a bunch of childhood friends, who used to make music by bonfires on the beaches of the Seattle area, got together and recorded an album in a log cabin in Anacortes, WA… well that is the story of Cold Comfort.
Their new album Chemical Butterflies was released in August to great critical acclaim in the Seattle and Northwest media, and they have been busy playing a number of venues, throughout the Great Pacific Northwest, in support of the album. The music hovers somewhere between Fleet Foxes and Spoon, with the wonderful vocal harmonies of the former and the guitar and keyboard sound and rhythms of the latter; a wonderful mix.
Chemical Butterflies, the title song open the album and is full of warm keys, deep bass, and great vocals. Jauhola sings, “The city streets can sure smell sweet in Seattle, I fell in love… The solemn architect takes a deep breath, says look at the world we create. Splintered skies, chemical butterflies, as the lines dance around on your face”. The track has a Talking Heads/Bob Dylan beat and rhythm to it, only with a much happier mood and cadence. “Can we please forget the world for a while”.
Heritage has a wonderful keyboard opening, a spirited beat and great lyrics, Ryerson singing, “A cold wind blows through the canyon. I hear a few voices tremble in the distance. It’s been hard getting good rest these days. I miss my friends I miss my family”. The electric guitar and drums play a happy melody, while the band’s thoughts remain focused on family and others they miss. The video for this track shows the band making music in the cabin they used in Anacortes. Very early Fleet Foxes, full of great vocal harmony and uplifting music.
Heartbeat opens with great lead electric guitar, it would fit perfectly on Spoon’s latest album, Hot Thoughts, only with better vocal harmonies from Jauhola. An upbeat rhythm and sound to light the day, the powerful guitar solo towards the end and the deep bass display the talent and the instrumental ability of this band well. Sam’s Song is one of the best songs on the album. The video for the song is wonderful, telling the song’s story with shots of the University of Washington. The warm piano that fills this track is worth the price of admission alone. The song and video remind me of the quality story-telling tracks that came out during the 1980s, Jauhola singing, “You’ll find comfort in everyone. Life is a carnival, time is immeasurable. You’ll return to everything in the end”. Perfect.
Note to Self is another great lyrical expression of emotion, a note to yourself for the future. The bass, lead and drums set an upbeat and fun pace, Jauhola singing, “I wrote a note to myself from another time. A capsule of life and love farther down the line. Driving into the white, snow glows in the city light”. The Veil has a wonderful acoustic guitar opening with keys and bass, and the best vocals of the album, like a Fleet Foxes masterpiece reborn, a fine achievement for such a young band. It’s a great Dylanesque story, even to the point of bringing his nasally vocals to the forefront, piano tapping out the rhythm.
Bass and percussion open the best song on the album, The Holiday, with vocals from Jauhola that absolutely need to be heard by a larger audience than this band currently enjoys. The keyboard work is star quality, Jauhola singing, “The engines starting, take your last breath they’ll write it in their history books. Climb aboard the capsule with everyone you love. Titanium walls with footholds cold to the touch. Even double trip Martians have a photo they clutch. With a sunken earth behind you your holiday comes. The company said they would provide you with a vault and two biodomes that you can call home. You’ll be such hero when the holiday comes. You’ll sing hallelujah when the holiday comes”
My City opens like a Beatles track, only this time with fuzzy guitar and clock-worked keyboards. It’s a song about Seattle, I assume, Jauhola singing, “My city don’t like my style. My mind wanders for miles and miles… I’ve been around, and I’ve found a way out, you built a culture in our town. In a world down and out, we build a culture in a sound”. The lead guitar solos and drums are excellent. Microscope has a rollicking, fun beat and the lyrics fit the mood perfectly, Ryerson singing, “I’ve been a bit too reckless with my words these days yeah. And you say that I might miss this, well it feels like you’ve already gone away. Every time I talk slow my words seems to stagger and every time I focus I play those hocus pocus games with you. Oh, baby I play them too”.
Speaking in Tongues is vocal–driven, which Jauhola handles well. It also has some of the best drum work on the album. “Turn the light down low, take a picture, you’ve got the world at the tips of your fingers”. The keyboards are also memorable and it’s a great album closer that will make you wish for the next album. Lead vocals are alternated between Andrew Jauhola and Dustin Ryerson, in the concluding track, What Are You Thinking About, sounding like early Fleet Foxes with full vocal harmonies and slow delivered keys and bass. A warm and wonderful album opening. Jauhola sings, “Back to myself again. This chemical arrangement. I love the way my city sleeps at night”.
This album and band were a wonderful surprise to find on CDBaby.com on a warm Saturday. Every track on Chemical Butterflies is well crafted to stand the test of time. As it gets harder to find great quality artists, you have to celebrate those that make music that rocks you. Cold Comfort is one of those bands. I am glad I found them and will continue to follow their progress. I hope you give them a chance and even if they are not traditional progressive rock, you will hear their progressive influences.
01. Chemical Butterflies (4:16)
02. Heritage (5:08)
03. Heartbeat (4:27)
04. Sam’s Song (4:55)
05. Note to Self (5:25)
06. The Veil (4:28)
07. The Holiday (4:07)
08. My City (6:33)
09. Microscope (3:46)
10. Speaking in Tongues (4:53)
11. What Are You Thinking About? (1:16)*
* Not available on Bandcamp
Total Time – 49:14
Ryan Crace – Bass
Dekker Deen – Drums & Percussion
Dustin Ryerson – Keyboards, Vocals
Dakota Lupton – Guitar, Keyboards
Andrew Jauhola – Guitar, Vocals
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 25th August 2018