Up On Crutches
Exact to Me
The Sea and Cake is that rare side-project that equals if not trumps its members’ full-time gigs. (Initially, the group was conceived as a one-off while Sam Prekop figured what to do after the critically acclaimed Shrimp Boat.) It’s also that rare side project where the result is more conventional and arguably less self-indulgent. Everybody is an accessible pop album where the two guitars intertwine, laid-back vocals chase the breezy melodies. and the rhythms keep things tight without complicating matters. For anyone more accustomed to drummer McEntire’s day job with Tortoise or conversant with the probing solo work of Sam Prekop or Archer Prewitt, Chicago’s Sea and Cake are a surprising celebration of convention. Not to suggest that the group take a predictable path. “Exact to Me” stutters with a frenetic minimalism where its clean lines are softly and subtly colored by quick injections of guitars and keyboards, “Left On” channels the guitar turbulence of space-rock. Much of this lightness of being oddly enough recalls the slick, pleasing attack of Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees-era soul-pop, as “Middlenight,” “Lightning” and “Introducing” whizz past like a graceful and refreshing ocean breeze.