by Maria Sledmere
Defiant, genre-bending and blisteringly intimate, Comfort’s new album is an assured triumph
Following the sibling duo’s 2019 debut, Not Passing, new record What’s Bad Enough? was produced with Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub) and scintillates with entropy, as themes of chronic injustice, grind culture, bigotry and transphobia coalesce in an energy field which is constantly switching up its pace, hooks and rhythm. There’s not a moment to rest.
Decrying patriotic conformity, billionaire money lust and more, Comfort exude confidence in forging glitchy, punk-inflected landscapes which rework hip hop into the flow and turmoil of daily life under chronic austerity and paranoid backlash. The record wants to swallow all of it whole — society-induced body dysphoria, toxic journalism and the pressure to conform — and vomit the undigest of rainbow capitalism in a cascade of synth yawps and rhetorical questions. Frontwoman, Natalie McGhee, has a knack for condensing this many-tabbed-hellscape into frank statements: ‘I’m not being cynical / It’s a cynical world’ (Too Many to Count), ‘measuring myself in the units of other people’ (One Size Fits All), ‘I want to be fragile without fear’ (Wild and Fragile).
Comfort are a galvanising live band and that stimulating cocktail of improvisation, trust and sonic chemistry is palpable on the record. Constantly oscillating between tenderness and rage, What’s Bad Enough? stays true to the lifeblood of its satire and sharp commentary. In a time of perpetual distraction and backlash, where ‘24hour panic machines are on’ (Too Many to Count), Comfort summon other forms of commencement, beauty and refusal from which desire can flourish in multitudes.
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