With their 10th full-length, Runner, The Sea and Cake remain one of the more durable and consistently inventive post-rock bands. Over 18 years, the Chicago-based group has honed a distinctive sound while still exploring new directions, as evidenced by their excellent 2011 EP The Moonlight Butterfly. In many ways, this sounds like a companion piece to that release. Commanding without being flashy, this talented quartet handles intricate arrangements with skill and a laid-back rhythmic drive. The songs are varied and finely crafted, and there are some great ones on Runner. “Harps” and “The Invitations” ride gurgling, propulsive synthesizers rich with texture. “On and On” and “Skyscraper” feature colorful, jazz-influenced guitar hooks and the crisp drumming of John McEntire (who also plays with Tortoise), as Sam Prekop’s warm and drowsy vocals follow fluid melodies that ebb and flow. The soft acoustic guitar ballad “Harbor Bridges” is as unexpected as it is serene and captivating. This is an atmospheric and elegant release that ranks among The Sea and Cake's best.