The Sea and Cake at the Paradise Rock Club on June 5

A review of The Sea and Cake at the Paradise Rock Club on June 5, 2007

, Contributing Writer

Back from a nearly five-year stretch between albums and genres, The Sea and Cake put on a solid, cozy show Tuesday night at The Paradise.

The Sea and Cake’s latest album, Everybody, is the latest genre-bending offshoot from their signature brand of jazz-inspired shoegaze. The album’s title is especially appropriate in light of singer Sam Prekop’s declaration that everyman rock bards, The Kinks, were a major influence in its creation. Indeed, Everybody has more of a breezy pop/rock style to it than their other albums, much like Ray Davies’ later works of nostalgic poetics. But Prekop’s claim that the songs on Everybody somehow constitute a straightforward “rock” record is a bit misleading. There are certainly subtle differences in sound and instrumentation (i.e. less of it as compared to their last album, 2003’s One Bedroom), but Everybody still eloquently captures the subdued rock-ish sound that Sea and Cake fans have come to expect. And that’s not a bad thing.

As a live band, The Sea and Cake came across as men in possession of quiet confidence in themselves. Their lineup has remained unchanged for a dozen years and it was refreshing to see that they still set up and dismantle their own equipment. It’s no wonder that the audience embraced their new songs as warmly as the old.

Their potential energy was palpable and almost excruciating to watch. Sam Prekop cradled his guitar close to him, eyes cast downward as he sang. It was as if every song was on the verge of exploding into a punkish stomp, but few reached anywhere near that intensity. Except for the occasional Prekop yelp, or spastic burst of power chords from Archer Prewitt, the band rumbled through every song with little theatrics, plenty of raw musicality, and barely a word to the chatty audience.

The band made great selections for their setlist, as they evenly distributed songs that spanned their career and unashamedly showcased about a half dozen tracks from Everybody. In fact, the show opened with back-to-back new songs, “Up on Crutches” and their latest single,& “Crossing the Line.” The latter sounded like a nice, upbeat summer rock song complete with “oh yeahs” and distorted guitars. Old favorites “The Biz” and “Jacking the Ball” went over big with the crowd, and “Leeora”, with a much-extended jam, whirled the band between furious rock and ethereal ambience. A lively “Mr. F” was probably the best choice from One Bedroom and “The Parasol” was a lively closer for the main set.

The Sea and Cake’s songs simmered and ebbed throughout the evening, and the crowd remained engaged, if not entranced. Their good time live show with its fresh, rocking songs proved that they are capable of being a band for everybody, if they want to be.

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