Erin Wolf

The Sea and Cake

By - Jun 1st, 2007 02:52 pm
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Since their debut in 1993, Chicago’s The Sea and Cake have quietly grown into hometown favorites alongside Tortoise, creating pop that’s one part ambient, one part jazz, one part rock and all parts pure. This unique sound, anchored by guitarist Sam Prekop’s trademark wispy-as-clouds vocals, has evolved from notional indie pop into this consistently eclectic mixture since their first electronic dabblings on the 1997 album, The Fawn.

Flash forward to the new millennium. 2003’s One Bedroom, which perfected jazzy indie-tronica, was adored by fans who were left to hang thereafter with a band hiatus. Thus, their newest, Everybody, is not only welcomed personally by fans who have longed to hold another Sea and Cake concoction in their hands, but also in general, because the band is showing their ability to grow without completely abandoning their sound circa 1997-2003. With Everybody, the band builds on past musical success by boomeranging back to their roots and catching some of the fundamental aspects that first garnered it attention. Perhaps this was possible due to the help of producer Brian Paulson (Slint, Wilco) who took the reins so the band could concentrate fully in the studio (drummer John McEntire previously did all the band’s production work).

Outlining the songs with the organic elements of a true rock outfit such as fuzzed-out guitars ( “Crossing Line” ), clean beat-keeping drums ( “Middlenight” ), filling in the lines with the pretty-as-bells guitars of Prekop and Archer Prewitt and then mixing it up with subtle syncopation and glossing it over with Prekop’s melody-challenged but soothing voice, The Sea and Cake take us back to their beginning. McEntire and Erik Claridge (bass) still manage to add the signature noodling ( “Exact to Me, “Left On” ) that makes this band sound so much like…well… themselves. Everybody hits that gratifying sweet spot. It’s got enough ‘oomph’ not to wimp out yet retains the subtle jazzy elements that will make this album one of the most delicious slices of pop baked goods to satisfy fans in years. VS

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