US - Illinois - Full Moon 131 - 06/01/07
The Sea and Cake
After the disappointment of One Bedroom and Sam Prekop's last solo album Who's Your New Professor, it's nice to have Everybody, a good Sea and Cake record. Not a great one sadly, not quite up there with Nassau or Oui, but much better than One Bedroom and The Biz, and a welcome return to more of a 'live' sound.
For The Sea and Cake, 'live' still reads as unbelievably smooth, but we do get fuzzy guitar tones ("Crossing Line"), catchy three-chord indie-pop with a relatively pulse-quickening coda ("Up On Crutches", the excellent opener), and more expansive jammy numbers like "Left On". For Sea and Cake fans there's plenty to enjoy.
However, one of the problems I'm left with is whether this album could convince anyone who doesn't know and love The Sea and Cake how great they are. This is a solid listen, but not really an album that's going to blow people away. Nassau blew me away. Oui ever-so-gently blew me away.
My reservations this time around mainly lie with John McEntire's drumming and Sam's never-changing vocal style. John usually pulls off some outstanding drum patterns, and here he doesn't have to worry about production, so surely he'd let loose more? He does pick up his game around the middle of the album, and on "Coconut" and "Exact To Me" he lays down the kind of jazzy, precise, loose-limbed beats that made Oui so utterly sublime. Sadly, elsewhere it's standard rock/pop beats, which makes the music drag somewhat. And Sam's voice... The first few times I listened to Everybody it was exasperating to hear him lazily sigh out the same old vocal melodies. But then that's what he does on all the Sea and Cake albums, and after a while you get used to it.
So, an enjoyable album, but not really indicative of The Sea and Cake's formidable talents.
Copyright © 2007 Tim Clarke