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One Bedroom

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Album Review

Solo careers and outside interests halted the Sea and Cake's momentum late in the '90s, but each time the quartet returns it's a boon for anyone who enjoys clean, efficient indie rock — a potential fan base ranging from Saint Etienne to Lambchop to Belle & Sebastian. Only the band's second record in the past five years, One Bedroom updates a previously trademarked sound only slightly; the usual drum shuffles are occasionally replaced by the indie version of a dance beat (usually an under-performing drum machine or samples), while Sam Prekop refines his breathy, upper-register vocals and abstract songwriting with an eye to pop music. The opener, "Four Corners," sets it off with a special grace, floating in on a wave of sublime synth atmospherics reminiscent of late-'70s Cluster, while the tidiest rhythm section in indie rock (bassist Eric Claridge and drummer John McEntire) paves the way for a breezy Prekop vocal that would have sounded fragmentary and undeveloped in the context of any other band, but is pure brilliance here. "Left Side Clouded" is similarly charming, beginning with neat acoustic strumming framed by an angular bassline and ending in a restrained guitar flameout. The highlight "Shoulder Length" is a perfect record for a crisp spring day, synths and guitar feedback humming like bees over a bouncy, swinging beat. While the accompaniment is always thoughtful and inventive, Prekop's vocal idiosyncrasies tend to be a double-edged sword, delightful on the good songs but only accentuating the dreariness of failed experiments like "Le Baron" or "Try Nothing." Fortunately, those moments are few and far between; the group sounds supremely confident throughout One Bedroom, even indulging in a rare cover for the closer, David Bowie's icy "Sound & Vision," a perfect fit.

Customer Reviews


This album just keeps on going! Each track offers something to enjoy. The feel of the album is very relaxed, but it is also quite interesting at the same time. The beats really drive the songs forward while his voice and the rhythms make you want to roll down the windows and drive for no apparaent reason. Good stuff! My wife and I have worn this album out...


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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