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Single Review: Greg Hoy – “Comfort Vendetta”

Not every rock song is defined by its guitar parts, but in a larger-than-life work like that of Greg Hoy’s new single “Comfort Vendetta,” they’re at the heart of every explosive moment in the track. Hoy gives a stellar performance behind the mic in “Comfort Vendetta” that doesn’t require adept knowledge of garage rock simplicity to fully appreciate, but were he not accompanied by as grand a set of riffs as he is here, I don’t know that this single would feel as volcanic as it does in this instance. He’s marvelous at capturing the essence of a rock club show inside speakers of virtually any size, and to me, this is as fine an example of his style as we could ask for.

The first few bars in “Comfort Vendetta” center on the building pressure in the mix, all of it originating at Greg Hoy’s lead vocal, but we aren’t pushed to the edge of our seats for nothing. It doesn’t take very long for the backing band to come rolling into focus with more raw might than anyone could expect them to pack, and when our singer is faced with balancing his soft singing with the pulsating groove beneath him, he doesn’t flinch. This kind of a tight squeeze is seemingly what he was born to work with, and while I might have assumed this too big a composition for him beforehand, there’s no denying his skills after witnessing what he does when tested here.

“Comfort Vendetta” culminates its fragmented tension in a chorus that gives all of the spotlight over to the vocals, but this still isn’t enough to silence the growl of the guitars. I think it says a lot about who Hoy is as a performer that he’s capable of sounding as smooth and charismatic in this single as he does given the massive instrumental foundations he has to contend with, and while he’s limited by the four walls of the studio, he still sounds like a wild animal ready to come undone at any moment in these verses. It’s harder to get to the primeval place inside of a controlled environment than you might think, but you’d never guess that just listening to this track.

I’d love to hear Greg Hoy play this song live in the future, and in the right venue, I think it could get just about every person within earshot excited about blue-collar alternative rock again. Blending elements of pop, hard rock, and a more casual strain of songcraft takes a certain amount of finesse, and in “Comfort Vendetta,” it becomes undebatable whether or not this is the type of musician who should be experimenting with hybrid concepts of a heavy sonic value. He’s got the voice to appeal to the masses but the musical brawn to concentrate his artistic development around a style that needs someone to breathe fresh life into its core aesthetics, and that all adds up to certain satisfaction for rock enthusiasts who seek out their own “Comfort Vendetta” this month.

Patricia Weaver

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