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Album Review

In the three-plus years following the release of 1997's The Fawn, the Sea and Cake's ever-busy membership dabbled in solo albums, touring with side projects, and various other responsibilities that come with the territory in the Chicago indie rock scene. But as effortlessly as an April breeze, the quartet reconvened to turn in Oui, quite possibly the finest of the group's five albums to date. Oui brightens up the electroacoustic hybrids first heard on The Fawn with guidance from frontman Sam Prekop's Brazilian-influenced 1999 solo debut and drummer John McEntire's production work on two Stereolab albums. While the looping synths often bogged down the mediocre material on The Fawn, the electronics serve as much better complements here. Prekop turns in some of his catchiest melodies to date, while the band follows suit on the sparkling, funky pop of "All the Photos" and the wobbly, mallet-laden "The Leaf," which makes good on the soothing ballad style introduced on "Window Lights," TSAC's contribution to the 1999 McEntire-scored Reach the Rock soundtrack. A sophisticated pop pleasure from start to finish, Oui is the aural equivalent of a perpetual Indian summer.


Formed: 1993 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Sea and Cake are a post-rock supergroup of sorts, comprised of luminaries from the Chicago independent scene. The band is led by singer/guitarist Sam Prekop, who, along with bassist Eric Claridge, was an alumnus of the frequently brilliant Shrimp Boat. After that group's dissolution, Prekop and Claridge were offered the opportunity to embark on a new project and hastily recruited ex-Coctails guitarist Archer Prewitt and Tortoise drummer John McEntire before entering the studio. Originally intended...
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