Comfort Slacks are serious about making music that stands out against the doldrums of daily life. “It’s boring, boring, boring; there are no fun colors, no fun sounds, no fun challenges,” says Jessie Fagan, who makes up half of the Napa electro-pop duo with her husband, Matt. “This band is a great opportunity for us to break away from our mundane lives and do something fun.”
The songs on the band’s debut EP, Biscuit Face, can seem innocuous or obscure, but they’re all driven by a sense of fun. Take “Coffee,” for example, which proclaims matter-of-factly, “We like to hang out with the cops at the doughnut shops / We drink lots of coffee and we fuck all night / We smoke lots of weed and we get real high, yeah.” After such an emotionally deep and provocative verse, the chorus goes downright philosophical: “Ring-ding-ding, I like my coffee.” (The song has inspired two dozen karaoke-style video responses online thus far.)
There’s obviously a lot of thought put into Comfort Slacks’ execution, but it doesn’t veer from the lighthearted core of the people who make it. Their music and live performances could be compared to the Aquabats or the Phenomenauts, but this duo is not relegated to the speedy, upbeat guitar strums of third-wave ska. The Fagans’ intimacy and awkward-yet-appropriate blend of solo male and female vocals can draw a brief comparison to Mates of State, but it fades quickly as Comfort Slacks establish themselves as far more unique.
With live shows not heavily dependent on the actual playing of instruments, the duo sometimes dress up in costume. “I dare you to find a live show that’s as wacky and weird and chaotic and strange as ours,” says Fagan. “And fun.”
The couple, now in their mid-30s, moved here from Jersey City, N.J., five years ago. “One of the first things we noticed is that it smells very nice,” says Fagan. But without friends to show them around, they found themselves bored. Matt had been in metal bands in New Jersey and plays several instruments, so Jessie taught herself piano and learned how to program drums and synthesizers. The resulting lo-fi electronic sound is spiced up with physical instruments in a tasty mix.
For all their carefree demeanor, things get serious when Fagan mentions their love for animals, especially cats. Felines litter their website, and there are undoubtedly several hidden mentions of cats in the band’s songs.
“Everybody thinks we are doing it because it’s cool, but it’s real stuff,” she says without a hint of sarcasm. “We really love cats.”