The Sea and Cake - Any Day - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Sea and Cake - Any Day

by James Weiskittel Rating:9 Release Date:2018-05-11
The Sea and Cake - Any Day
The Sea and Cake - Any Day

Chicago’s The Sea and Cake have been fine-tuning their idiosyncratic blend of jazz-tinged indie-rock for the better part of two decades now.  Following a six-year hiatus that saw singer Sam Prekop finding success with soundtrack work, and drummer John McEntire steadily working his day-job with Tortoise, the band (which also includes guitarist Archer Prewitt) eventually reassembled to write and record what would become Any Day as a three piece (following the departure of bassist Eric Claridge).

The euphoric album-opening “Cover The Mountain” finds the band fully embracing their new-found power-trio dynamic, and to great effect, as the song is the perfect example of The Sea and Cake's ability to craft songs that immediately grab the ear while also rewarding repeated listens.  Meanwhile, with nary a synth or fuzz-box to be found, the breakneck intro to “I Should Care” shows just how ‘heavy’ a properly dialed in band can actually sound.

Over the course of the rest of the album, the band seamlessly switches between driving power-pop workouts (“Day Moon”, “Starling”), and chilled-out indie anthems (“Any Day”, “Occurs”) with an effortless grace, tastefully infusing each track with pockets of understated musical acrobatics while never losing track of the underlying melodic theme.  The record’s mix of ‘less-is-more’ production and understated sonic textures further complements the material, placing Prekop’’s breathy vocals front and center while also allowing for ample space between the other instruments.

While much of the album is elevated by a tangible sense of upbeat urgency, the subdued, album-closing “These Falling Arms” is nearly worth the price of admission on its own.  The song, which is a hefty slice of borderline-genius, features some of Prekop’s best work both vocally and lyrically, and closes out Any Day on an incredibly high note.

While a six-year hiatus will test the limits of any music fan’s attention, it would be difficult to argue that a near-perfect effort wouldn’t be an equitable exchange for such a prolonged absence, but that's precisely what the band has accomplished here.  The Sea and Cake’s Any Day is a concise collection of impeccably executed dream-pop; the kind of album that is always worth the wait.

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