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I Guess I Was Daydreaming

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Album Review

The sophomore album by Helena Sundin, who performs under the Cake on Cake moniker, is a wonderful treat, a quietly striking album that has a lot going on under the surface. Recording and arranging everything aside from a couple of guest appearances here and there, Sundin creates music that is sprightly yet still slightly melancholic, which almost lives up to a stereotype of Scandinavian independent music — it's a touch twee, mixes emotions well, and is extremely enjoyable throughout. Sundin's soft, soothing voice has a slightly distanced edge to it as well, not offputting but something that makes the gentle flow of her vocals less gooey than it might have been, to fine effect. Her harmonic tricks on the backing vocals for "Sea-Microphone" catch the attention beautifully, while "1981," which begins with a collage of the individual numerals, finds the surprisingly perfect middle ground between Laurie Anderson and the Young Marble Giants, accentuated by the detailed but still softly sweet arrangement that suggests a combination music box and grandfather clock. Perhaps unsurprisingly there's a lot of Brian Wilson at his dreamiest throughout the album — especially "Faces on a Photo," with its wordless introductory vocal — but all without seeming like Yet Another Beach Boys Tribute Band, a major accomplishment. Dan Bejar fans may well have reason to check in thanks to her cover of "English Music," but the hints of classical arrangements in "We Want to Be Happy" and other songs showcase even deeper roots on this rich, understatedly ambitious album.

Biography

Formed: Sweden

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Cake on Cake is the band name used by Helena Sundin (born Helena Elisabeth Sundin in Härnösand, Sweden, on December 4, 1981). Sundin, a painter as well as a classically trained musician capable of playing dozens of instruments as well as singing, began working as Cake on Cake in June 2004 while attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Umeå, Sweden. In 2005, the American independent label Desolation Records released the first Cake on Cake album, I See No Stars, followed by the digital-only EP Sun-Chairs...
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