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Stories for Late At Night

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Album Review

After a slew of German-only releases that followed his '90s work on Homestead and Merge, Cakekitchen main man Graeme Jefferies found a full American release for the first time in a few years with Stories for Late at Night, described in the liner notes as a complementary piece to the European releases. It stands alone as yet another good Cakekitchen effort, however, with Jefferies' immediately recognizable vocals, shot through with reflective rumination and an almost tender moan, covering both gentle acoustic arrangements and full electric overload with skill. Aside from "November Holiday," featuring a bass player and harmony singer, the songs are all solo efforts through and through from Jefferies, but if the Cakekitchen name may only apply to him in the end, it's an identity that he's made his own. While there's little overall change from the group's recent releases — everything from the artwork and design (down to the disc art) to the general sound bespeaks a careful continuity rather than any sudden reinvention — Stories for Late at Night comes across as a strong overall effort, focusing slightly more on the quieter side of Jefferies' work. Standouts on the acoustic or soft jangle front include "A Secret Fear of Heights" and "Tiger by the Tail," while the piano and vocal combination of "Under the Walnut Tree" makes for a good gentle surprise toward the album's conclusion. In contrast, "Dancing with Me on My Car" finds Jefferies in full-on rock & roll mode — he still sings the same way, of course, but the combination of his slightly more winsome vocals and the busy, grinding feedback of the arrangement is a killer.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Graeme Jefferies (vocals, guitar, piano, viola) is a cult icon in New Zealand, and his band Cakekitchen helped to solidify his high-ranking status in the country's underground scene. After the breakup of This Kind of Punishment, Jefferies formed Cakekitchen in the late '80s. Taking their name from Jefferies' 1988 solo LP Messages for the Cakekitchen, Cakekitchen is basically a revolving set of musicians, all of whom are led by Jefferies. Expressing the similarly gloomy Velvet Underground-styled narratives...
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Stories for Late At Night, Cakekitchen
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