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The Sea and Cake
Thrill Jockey Records

All of a sudden The Sea and Cake returns with a new album, Runner. Oh, no, it's just me missing out their album of last year, The Moonlight Butterfly. Oh yeah, well, I'd better check that later; the last The Sea and Cake record I heard was Car Alarm, some four years ago. Due to Thrill Jockey's 20th Anniversary we'll see classic The Sea and Cake albums reissued this fall.

Runner is The Sea and Cake's 10th album since they formed in the early 90s, with Sam Prekop (of Shrimpboat) on vocals/guitar, Archer Prewitt (of The Coctails) on guitar/piano/vocals, John McEntire (also in Tortoise and The Red Krayola, formerly of Bastro, Gastr del Sol, Seam, and many more) on percussion/drums/synth, and Eric Claridge (also of Shrimpboat) on bass/synth. Prekop released his third solo album, Old Punch Card some three years ago. And, yes, some 7 years ago, in April 2005, I had the pleasure of go seeing Prewitt and Prekop do a double bill here in Oslo -- on my birthday! Nice gift, indeed. Even though their songs are quite anonymously sounding, sort of, they're quite a pleasant listen, and they've got such good mood. In fact I think this new album is a better encounter with The Sea and Cake than my last couple of efforts. But, then again, I missed out last year's album.

The Sea and Cake are about texture and smooth seams. They run on, but indeed in a very controlled way. Runner was recorded and mixed by John McEntire at Soma Studios, Chicago. The sound and the arrangements are blissful and balanced and beautiful. There should maybe have been some more edge, some more attitude. But then again, this is The Sea and Cake. They're calm and cool and comforting. And true creative minds: Prewitt being a cartoonist; Eric Claridge is an artist; McEntire is a highly popular producer (Stereolab, Bright Eyes, Teenage Fanclub, Smog, Trans Am, Eleventh Dream Day, Blur, Pivot, The Fiery Furnaces, Broken Social Scene, Coldcut and Jaga Jazzist to name a few - not to forget that he's produced solo records by his bandmates, Prekop and Prewitt, as well as Jeff Parker and Doug McCombs, of Tortoise)

The Sea and Cake are named after a song by Gastr del Sol, "The C in Cake" (in fact it was the result of an accidental misunderstanding by that song title). There's an old saying going: As long as there's cake, let there be party. I like cake.

Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Sea and Cake articles/reviews: A brief guide to ..., Car Alarm, Everybody, One Bedroom, Oui.

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© 2012 Luna Kafé