|The Sea and Cake||Any Day (May 11th, 2018)|
The Sea and Cake — Any Day (May 11th, 2018) → The Sea and Cake bridge the gap between Brazilian music of the late 1960’s, African influenced guitar lines, and independent pop. A sound that is entirely distinct, centered around the delicate guitar interplay of Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt, driven by the versatile rhythms of bassist Eric Claridge and drummer John McEntire, and finally set apart by Prekop’s vocals and obtuse lyrics.
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Styles: Indie Pop, Indie Rock, Post~Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Experimental Rock
Album release: May 11th, 2018
Record Label: Thrill Jockey
01 Cover the Mountain 2:51
02 I Should Care 3:17
03 Any Day 4:53
04 Occurs 4:32
05 Starling 3:30
06 Paper Window 3:22
07 Day Moon 3:18
08 Into Rain 3:53
09 Circle 3:36
10 These Falling Arms 4:53
•◊• LP version packaged in a high gloss jacket featuring photography by Sam Prekop. Includes a full color artworked Euro style inner sleeve and free download card. A limited supply pressed on white vinyl now available.
•◊• CD version in high gloss four panel mini~LP style gatefold package
AllMusic Review by Bekki Bemrose; Score: ***½
•◊• The Sea and Cake’s captivatingly low~key music has brought them little fanfare in their 24~year career, but it has tacitly endeared them to many. Any Day marks their 11th studio album and first in six years, and while they may not be offering a huge departure from their previous efforts’ lush avant pop with splashes of jazz and post~rock, they remain one of the most consistent bands in operation.
•◊• As ever, what they lack in bluster they make up for with craft. The Chicago trio have always managed a delicate balance that allows their skill to shine while maintaining warmth, and they continue that trend here, be it on the rolling, verdant rhythms of “Occurs” that prove quite hypnotic, or the calypso cadences of “Into Rain” that reveal what a quietly imaginative band they are. Elsewhere, “I Should Care” offers a pacier interval, as does “Day Moon” with its rolling bassline. But the band chooses to sign off with a track more in tune with the record’s prevailing tranquil vibe in the shape of “These Falling Arms,” which closes the record in beautifully rewarding fashion.
•◊• There’s a danger these gentle compositions could just wash over and make no real imprint on one’s consciousness, but to their credit the record is too rhythmically stimulating and the hooks too elegant for it to be a forgettable album. The subtly appealing melody of the title track coupled with the track’s finely formed details is just one example of an intelligent band that can be just that without any sense of affectation or pretense. Getting lost in Any Day is merely to surrender to delicacy in lieu of something more directly boisterous.
•◊• There’s nothing fashionable about the Sea and Cake’s music, and therein lies much of their charm. Any Day is a very singular world, and one at odds with the age of streaming and its algorithm~generated, trend~chasing playlists; it requires the listener to relinquish time and place, to make room and peace enough to enjoy their gently wrought virtuosity.
•◊• The Sea and Cake deliver an album with the freshness and energy of a new band, and the ease and musicianship that can only come with experience. Runner began as the companion piece to 2011’s The Moonlight Butterfly, and using that album’s sonic experimentations as a starting point for a new process of writing and recording, became something completely new. Songs that began as synthesizer experiments in Sam Prekop’s home studio were reimagined by the other members, and eventually recorded and mixed by John McEntire at Chicago’s Soma Studios. The result is an album that feels like a private travelogue. Start listening at one place, and end up some place else. Cherish the unexpected mysteries around every corner.
From Sam Prekop:
•◊• Normally I would ignore past efforts when writing something new, but this felt different, The Moonlight Butterfly was ripe for expansion. Keeping the butterfly in mind focused a direction and provided a good jumping off point. Between The Moonlight Butterfly and Runner, I wrote and recorded a soundtrack for a film called Pavilion. It was absolutely wonderful for a while not to know what I was doing, but working still, scrambling with purpose. I truly felt free to try almost anything. in completing a picture with sound, trying to record a nuance, the particulars became huge — to render a space, describe a time, follow a spell. Reaching in this direction has definitely informed the new record.
•◊• I was interested in writing songs that started not with guitar but with synthesizer/sequencer ideas. The modular synth parts didn’t always make it through to the final recordings, but the influence is still there. On “Harps” for instance, that melody and structure could not have happened if I hadn’t played off the sequencer right at the beginning. Having the pieces start in my home studio, I became quite cavalier with them, painting with a new fat sloppy brush. The songs were feeling pleasantly out of control and I was hearing music unlike other material I had come up with before.
•◊• The Sea and Cake worked remotely for quite a while on Runner. As a result, what the band brought was more reactionary, impulsive, since the foundation was already there. The pieces seemed able to absorb a new kind of risk taking. It was fascinating to hand over almost complete works and have the other members of the band have at it, rip up, reconfigure, reconsider. Just when I felt I couldn’t go further on a song, someone in the band would change it forever. I firmly believe in taking cues and direction as the material evolves. I’m never one to impose preconceptions on a record and feel the most interesting work is found, rather than predetermined.
Thrill Jockey description:
•◊• The Sea And Cake deliver a refreshingly intimate collection of elegantly arranged, singular pop songs. For over two decades and 11 albums, The Sea And Cake have honed a sound all their own, comprised of delicate, intertwining guitar patterns, syncopated rhythms, and airy melodies. Masters of subtlety, their compositions have continually evolved — through minute alterations in texture, unusual approaches to lyrics, and creative production choices. Any Day is testament to The Sea And Cake’s artistry, song craft, and utterly unique sound. The results are intimate songs that speak to the searcher in all of us. Through shifting instrumentation and sonic exploration, the band invites you into a world that is both familiar and unexpected.
•◊• Written and recorded following the departure of bassist Eric Claridge, Any Day is The Sea And Cake’s first album recorded as the trio of Sam Prekop, Archer Prewitt, and John McEntire. Since the release of their last album (2012’s Runner), the band have, in addition to shows, been creatively very busy: Prekop focusing on solo modular synthesizer and soundtrack work, including an acclaimed collaboration with artist David Hart; McEntire’s recording and touring with Tortoise, and maintaining a busy schedule as a recording engineer and producer; and Prewitt’s work as a cartoonist and illustrator, in addition to duo performances with Prekop. The band, still actively performing with bassist Douglas McCombs (Tortoise, Brokeback), were inspired by the challenge of composing as a smaller unit. Once the songs began to take shape, says Prekop, “we got really excited about it almost immediately — as soon as we started playing together.”
•◊• The compositions throughout Any Day, while intricate as ever, rarely employ synthesizers; opting instead for the more organic sounds of stacked guitars and organs. The band were joined on the title track by Paul Von Mertens (a frequent collaborator with Brian Wilson) on flute and clarinet; and Nick Macri on double bass. Prekop delivers some of the most vocal~centric songs in the band’s catalogue. His words are chosen and placed for their sound and cumulative meaning. This poetic, painterly approach invites a myriad of lyrical interpretations. One can derive varied personal meanings from each song. This broad connection and truth may be the key to the bands remarkable currency with their fans for over 25 years. The heart of the album’s instrumentation is Prewitt’s intriguing choice of guitar effects, sparingly used to enhance his counter melodies. The combinations create a wealth of textures from surprisingly few instruments. From the distant coos of “Starling” to string like swells of “Into Rain,” Prewitt’s contributions are potent. John McEntire’s deft hands behind the drums, bass, and mixing board enliven the album’s minimal approach with a nimble shimmer just as exquisite as the more densely layered earlier albums.
•◊• Any Day captures The Sea And Cake’s distinctive aural alchemy, melding longing melancholy with hopeful excitement. In other hands the combination seems impossible, but for The Sea And Cake, it’s effortless.
• Any Day, Thrill 459
• Runner, Thrill 310
• The Moonlight Butterfly, Thrill 278
• Car Alarm, Thrill 205
• Everybody, Thrill 186
• One Bedroom, Thrill 116
• Oui, Thrill 086
• The Biz, Thrill 026
• Nassau, Thrill 021
• Sea & Cake, Thrill 016
• A Brief Historical Retrospective, JPN
• Anybody, iTunes only
• Glass, Thrill 125
• Two Gentlemen, Thrill 048
|The Sea and Cake||Any Day (May 11th, 2018)|