Rolling Stone (8/16/01, p.102) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Cake's formula is tighter than ever....Eras jumble and jostle...The best songs exhibit a modern pop that is both mechanized and organic...their sound is highly developed and virtually unique..."
Alternative Press (10/01, p.79) - 8 out of 10 - "...[This] will make you absurdly happy..."
CMJ (8/13/01, p.5) - "...Skillfully crafted....a smart, fun record..."
Cake: John McCrea (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, bass, percussion, programming); Xan McCurdy (electric guitar, percussion, background vocals); Vince DiFiore (trumpet, keyboards, background vocals); Gabriel Nelson (keyboards, bass, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Tyler Pope (guitar, keyboards); Todd Roper (Moog synthesizer, drums, percussion, background vocals).
Recorded at Paradise Studios, Sacramento, California and Hyde Street Studios, San Francisco, California.
John McCrea's off-key, languid half-rap, half-croon rambles over horn-laden indie-rock and crashes into Mariachi-band melodies while he dashes off less patently goofy than off-kilter lyrics such as "with fingernails that shine like justice." It's a formula that doesn't sound like a sure success for one album, let alone a slew, yet COMFORT EAGLE would bring Sacramento band Cake's total to four overwhelmingly catchy albums over six years.
Perhaps due to the pop crossover of singles like "The Distance" and "Never There," it's easy to forget that Cake is stylistically closer to Pavement than to all the fly-by-night goof-rock bands. While McCrea's lyrics are winking, referential, hyper-self-aware, and occasionally smug or silly, they also wind appealingly, wax cleverly, and are highly memorable; not a word seems out of place. COMFORT EAGLE abounds with hooks from the trickling keyboards of the magnificent and oblique "Meanwhile Rick James..." to their ubiquitous alluring trumpet on opening single "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" and the emphatic catch-phrase "he is calling you dude" lining the title track. For COMFORT EAGLE, Cake is back at their full complement of five with the integration of guitarist Xan McCurdy into the fold and the tightness flows through this hearty and eclectic record.