Comeback Kid – Symptoms And Cures
A follow up to a follow up that followed a tough act to follow is… a tough act to follow. I heard you like Comeback Kid, so you can follow your tough act while you… Anyway, Symptoms And Cures is finally welcomed by the ears, which in all respects should be another strong melo-hardcore outing from Winnipeg’s best band (sorry Electro Quarterstaff). Career highlight Broadcasting tore the roof off but good in 2007, adding pinches of diversity to their, albeit obvious, hardcormula. That was the most welcome expansion to CBK’s repertoire, and sure enough, Symptoms follows suit.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, did Wake The Dead even happen? Every damn track on Comeback Kid Album Version 4.0 is a different beast from the last, with a few extracted prematurely from the vats (read: “Because Of All The Things You Say” and “Get Alone” – good blueprints, bland construction). CBK’s sophomore suffered and gained from its uniformity, but Symptoms veers far off the other side of scale, as moderated in the middle by Broadcasting. Problem? Hardly, especially when their offbeat Samuel Barber vs. Bane mesh is still very much a part of their sound. Just take a gander at “Crooked Floors” (where the disc really gets into gear), returning with d-beat triumphalism, a hearty fuck yeah all over the place. D-beat auteur Kyle Profeta fills up bars with his trademark single-pedal slam, leasing out some new concoctions of the polka beat yet unheard of by the modern hardcore masses. I feel that “G.M. Vincent And I” should already have been a song at some point over the last 20 years, but God does it feel like it was just what everyone needed after waiting for it to be recorded. “Balance” shows its age while the title song smacks of the new, at once a safe disc and startling to boot. It is on songs like that that guitarist-turned-vocalist Andrew Neufeld really proves he is the definitive voice of Comeback Kid, a true vocal talent that flexes the intense, the spiteful, the hopeful, and the immediately discernable singalongs in album best “The Concept Says” (also weighing in as Comeback Kid’s best song yet), doing all of which with such intelligent economy.
Guelph’s entry in Through The Noise I (CBK’s 2008 tour supporting Broadcasting) was doubtlessly the most fun I’ve had at a show, amounting to a hardcore spectacle that instilled all the crowd behaviour you would expect. And why not? Comeback Kid is the most aestheticized hardcore band active today, what with surgical production and melodic execution, they’ve effectively done their part in turning the raw n’ filthy dynamics of the genre into a controlled cool. Little did we expect, it opened wide areas for melody, power, and a mature leverage that justified the ongoing presence of the genre. The show-going elite may scoff at the presence of the band as the hxc’s stylized poster-boys, but boy band they amn’t, and there would sure as hell be no Defeaters, and More Than Lifes without them. In that case, Symptoms And Cures should be the flagship of this now-respected-and-relevant-post-hardcore revolution, but it doesn’t quite get there. A strong disc to be sure, varied impeccably, but ultimately trumped by the likes of this year’s Love Let Me Go and last’s Lost Ground. Those discs had more to prove, whereas Symptoms And Cures shows a confident and assured Comeback Kid, steeped in ability with a license to kill.