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This slice of Cake doesn’t taste so sweet

Comfort Eagle takes a harsh look at life and its meaning

Now you can have your cake and eat it, too.

I know, bad pun, but it’s true because Cake is back and with it comes a new CD Comfort Eagle, a mix of alternative pop, soul, funk, hip groove with some great beats that are all in the true-to-form Cake style.

Cake made waves with its first radio song “The Distance,” from the 1996 CD Fashion Nugget, but the band didn’t really hit it big until the release of the catchy “Never There” and the metaphysical “Sheep Go To Heaven” from Prolonging the Magic, which was released in 1998. Comfort Eagle, Cake’s fourth music project, is its first on Columbia Records and became available in stores Tuesday.

This CD takes a harsh look at what life is all about. Is the goal in life to get a well paying job, a nice house and car, raise a big family and retire at age 65 on the money you’ve saved up since you started working at age 15, or is it something more?

I guess that depends on who you ask. If you ask Cake’s singer, guitarist and chief songwriter John McCrea, all that materialism isn’t where it’s at. Suspicious and cynical, McCrea doesn’t mince his words, though his lyrics may either seem pessimistic or honestly perceptive, depending from what side of the tracks you’re coming.

The first single “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” integrates the chorus riff of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane,” and, at first glance, the song may appear to be a lust-filled, semi-love song. In retrospect, it clearly portrays McCrea’s sarcastic nature about how the world works.

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“It’s a song about prosperity, about how human sexuality and the American stock market bubble are intricately connected,” McCrea said in a press release. “Musically, the song references The Velvet Underground mostly just because I don’t think there’s anything more indicative of an economy doing well than a sharp increase in heroin abuse.”

McCrea may fight “The Man,” but luckily finds some peace when it comes to his band. Drummer Todd Roper, who has two children, left the group shortly after the new CD was recorded, and was replaced by Pete McNeal.

“I feel like we’re just beginning to hit our stride as a band,” he said. “It’s like a table that has four legs instead of two. Everyone involved is now actually involved.”

Thank goodness everything with Cake is on the up-and-up, as it will kick off a tour by the end of August or early September. Until then, you’ll just have to get by with the new Comfort Eagle. Visit for more information.

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