Anticipating the release of a new record from The Sea And Cake is a ritualized experience for us, during which we wait in uncertainty like Pozzo and Lucky for signs of a return to one of the band's landmark recordings. In 1995 and 1997 the Chicago-based quartet issued back-to-back records that are pillars of indie pop, the guitar-oriented The Biz and the electronically textured The Fawn. Over the past decade we've done two things more than we'd care to admit: listen relentlessly to those records, and hope that the four horsemen of the indiepopalypse (Mssrs. Prekop, Prewitt, McEntire and Claridge, each Chicago music luminaries in their own right) would finally concoct a third perfect record mining one or both of those records' styles. Today we can report after a four-year wait (since the release of the band's prior effort Oui) that the quartet's forthcoming collection Everybody is as close to a perfect guitar-pop album as The Sea And Cake has crafted since The Biz.
While maintaining a characteristic understated sophistication, the set is touted as The Sea And Cake's "rock record." And indeed the group's gentlemanly pop here is propelled by punchier rhythms and occasionally aggressive -- well, relatively -- performances and production. "Left On" pulses with the inevitability of vintage kraut rock and occasionally unleashes avian shrieking and feedback in what may be the heaviest Sea And Cake tune ever tracked. The show of strength is bracing, but it is little surprise when the band retires to its pop boudoir as the song recesses into silence. "Crossing Line" bursts open with an abundance of sonic fizz in the form of a fuzzed out guitar, resulting in another near-brash track from a group that typically maintains a sort of polite decorum with its compositions. The Sea And Cake states Everybody is relatively straightforward and live-sounding and that there are fewer overdubs than on their other collections. That may be so, but there are still many nice production touches, such as the electronic flourishes in the denouement of the irresistible sorta title track "Lightning."
Everybody will be released May 8; a deluxe gatefold LP will include a 16-page booklet that we imagine will be a delight to behold. The Sea And Cake plan a substantial strand of tour dates beginning May 14 in Vancouver. The full tour is listed below, as is a stream of the African high-life tinged "Exact To Me."
The Sea And Cake -- "Exact To Me" -- Everybody
[it's a stream, just click, and get ready to adjust your volume]
[buy Everybody from Thrill Jockey here]
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05/14 -- Vancouver, BC -- Richard's on Richards
05/15 -- Seattle, WA -- Neumo's
05/16 -- Portland, OR -- Crystal Ballroom
05/18 -- San Francisco, CA -- Bimbo's
05/19 -- Los Angeles, CA -- The Troubadour
05/20 -- Los Angeles, CA -- The Troubadour
05/21 -- Solana Beach, CA -- Belly Up
05/31 -- Chicago, IL -- Empty Bottle (Two Shows)
06/02 -- Toronto, ON -- Mod Club
06/03 -- Montreal, QC -- La Sala Rossa
06/05 -- Boston, MA -- The Paradise
06/07 -- New York, NY -- Webster Hall
06/08 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Theatre of Living Arts
06/09 -- Washington, DC -- Black Cat
[Click here for European tour dates]