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iTunes Review

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.

Customer Reviews

Very nice indeed!

Just listening now to the first SAC album in four years--very nice! John McEntire has gone back to a real drum kit and the sound is great. The Amazon review talked about a more stripped-down sound, and that is a good way to put it. You can hear the instrumentation from each player--Prewitt's guitar is clear and up-front, while Sam Prekop's voice is more present and immediate. This is a great album by a great band! I highly recommend this album to anybody and everybody who enjoys that cool Chicago sound.

Less than Stellar

Upon an initial listen of Everybody many The Sea and Cake fans may feel underwhelmed. For Prekop and crew, a band known for consistently trying new directions (both musically and with other non-musical side projects) don't really tread any new waters with this release. It's only upon subsequent listens that their intent comes to fruition. Everybody isn't about reinvention or the progression of a craft, the way The Fawn or One Bedroom, to a lesser extent, did with electronics and production experimentation. Or, how earlier albums (The Sea and Cake, The Biz) portrayed a restrained angst and urgency while still seeming refined. Instead, this album is about close review and refinement of the good and not so good (TSAC will never be "bad") of a career. With Everybody the aforementioned electronic and production experimentation is at a minimum. For two reasons really 1) TSAC wanted to make a strait-forward "Rock" album with few overdubs and 2) the (electronic) approach has not gone over well with some fans. What they have done well with their career is to build a beautifully mellow and melodic brand of blissful, Jazz-influenced Rock that is unparalleled. That essence is what this album captures. Everybody's interplay between guitars, keys, and the rhythm section's, sneakily subtle yet powerful arrangements are refreshing as always. The second time lightning comes around, with the deceptively simple, one word chorus "everybody", and Sam Prekop's trademark whisper-like vocals, these concepts will be reiterated and the album will take hold. It might be maturation. Or the fact that The Sea and Cake members have families and countless other side projects, or the fact that they just know what they do best. But, the culmination of these is what makes Everybody a little less than a stellar album that doesn't push the talent of these undoubtedly talented musicians enough. It is; however, enough to keep most Sea and Cake fans happy for a while. Just don't take four years next time!

Their best since their first!

EVERYBODY is, suitably, perhaps the most accessible Sea and Cake record since their eponymous debut. It's inclusive experimental alt-rock, you might say. I challenge anyone to find a record in recent years that has a better first five tracks. "Up on Crutches" establishes (or re-establishes, for the initiated) the signature S&C sound, before "Too Strong" launches into something more propulsive and, at the same time, sprawling -- reminiscent of the early gem "Showboat Angel." The song cycle builds all the way to "Coconut," whose painterly lyrics are almost accessible enough for Seventies FM radio, like an early Eagles track from a lost weekend, remixed by Tortoise. There's so much to be seduced by...the airy production, the drenched percussion, the wispy vocals, and the spiderwebbed guitar lines, scooped together into songs that are memorable, melodious, still surprising on a tenth listen. Highly, highly recommended.


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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