The Sea and Cake Everybody (Thrill Jockey) Release date: May 8, 2007
Curb Your Cynicism is a recurring blogtastic feature in which the music editor pithily enthuses about new releases and reissues he thinks will enhance your life and erode your cynicism about the state of music, circa now.
The Sea and Cake never get ruffled. The Sea and Cake never raise their voices. The Sea and Cake wear white after Labor Day—and get away with it, because they have that much panache. The Sea and Cake are the suavest rock band (sonically) on the planet. The Sea and Cake = Steely Dan x Stereolab ÷ square root of Tortoise. The Sea and Cake have 2783 MySpace friends (as of today), which is just enough. The Sea and Cake make lounge music cohabit gracefully with motorik-rhythmed krautrock, which is harder to do than you would imagine. The Sea and Cake are both laid-back and anal-retentive, which is harder to be than you would imagine. The Sea and Cake don't sound like they're from Chicago, but rather from Southern California, due to their breezy, carefree style, which may make their appearance at Solana Beach's Belly Up Tavern a coals-to-Newcastle experience, but as coals-to-Newcastle experiences go, this one will be hard to beat. The Sea and Cake were boring the last time I saw them live in Cleveland, but a lot of bands save their most lackluster performances for Cleveland, so don't hold that against them.
The Sea and Cake's latest album, Everybody, is their seventh and second-best yet. Produced by Brian Paulson (Slint, Wilco) rather than drummer John McEntire, Everybody boasts a typically pristine and ideally feng shui'd sound. The Sea and Cake have undergone no radical deviations from previous Sea and Cake albums, though there are subtle gradient shifts. McEntire's impeccable stickwork is slightly more propulsive and insistent, but Sam Prekop still sings as if a sleeping baby's in the studio. "Exact to Me" features a really tricky time signature and complex interplay among guitarists Prekop and Archer Prewitt and bassist Eric Claridge that hints every so faintly at African highlife. "Left On" is probably the Sea and Cake's noisiest and most driving song to date, but it still won't raise eyebrows when it comes on over your coffeehouse's PA. The Sea and Cake are all about elegance and restraint, and living a champagne lifestyle on Kool-Aid wages.
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The Sea and Cake play tonight with Robbers on High Street and Zincs at Belly Up Tavern, 143 S. Cedros, Solana Beach, 858-481-8140.