I admit readily that I’m a huge fan of The Sea and Cake ever since purchasing The Fawn at a gone but not forgot record store in Chicago called The Quaker Goes Deaf in 1997. Formed a few years earlier in that same city and releasing the bulk of their work on the Thrill Jockey label, The Sea and Cake have been one of the more consistent bands that I have in my collection.
Prior to the release of this album, my two favorite records of theirs were The Biz and Oui. I place this record amongst them in quality and craftsmanship. More raucous than their earlier work with a much more raw guitar sound on much of the record than I was expecting, it really straddles between the familiar and the new quite well.
The high spots for me are:
“A Fuller Moon” – A high rev Bossa Nova style song reminiscent of the Biz with some light calypso touches from the steel drums two thirds of the way into the track with a very nice interplay between the guitar and steel drums near the end.
“Car Alarm” – This is the perfect blend of the new and familiar. Grittier guitars even in the quieter parts yet still has that up tempo Bossa Nova approach that the Sea and Cake are known for.
“CMS Sequence” – One would think this small analog synth driven piece would be the weak link on the album but I bought this record at the same time I purchased Sam Prekop’s great solo synth record The Republic. This track is brief prelude to that and makes total sense to me.
From the upbeat and dynamic opening rocker of “Aerial” thru the the steel drum flourish of “Mirrors” this is a solid effort thru and thru. If you’ve never heard The Sea and Cake and wanted a starting point this is not a bad place to jump on, but I would urge you to dig further into the back catalog.