“Runner” The Sea and Cake
Indie rock or post-rock from a four-piece Chicago band with a strong pedigree and lengthy legacy. This is The Sea and Cake’s 10th release if you count 2011’s The Moonlight Butterfly EP. It is a well-crafted blend of form and feature, highlighted by Sam Prekop’s easy, often indistinct, vocals and John McEntire’s steady drumming. Highly accomplished musicianship and polished production.
Recommended: 2, 1, 10, 3, 4, 6. No FCCs detected.
1. (3:49) On and On — Upbeat, energetic, driving rock opener with a nice hook and a fuzzy Sonic Youth feel. ***
2. (4:08) Harps — Light and breezy, synth-based melody with a march-like beat and yearning, breathy vocals. Instantly memorable. Best track on CD by far. ****
3. (4:22) A Mere — Mid-tempo, leisurely story-telling track that almost has a Grateful Dead folk-rock sound at times. Airy trail-out is like watching the sun set over a distant canyon. **
4. (4:22) The Invitations — Meandering synth wash and reverb-y vocals for first half. Sample of children’s voices in the middle trigger a transition into a jazzy, modern-day Steely Dan groove. **
5. (2:56) Skyscraper — Straight-ahead rock and roll with slightly distorted vocals. Nothing to recommend this.
6. (3:31) Harbor Bridges — Lovely, light, acoustic fingerpicking with Prekop’s vocals floating above and sweet harmonies in the choruses. **
7. (5:40) New Patterns — Nimble lead guitar work and timekeeping bass. Carefree vocals. Long instrumental groove at end.
8. (3:49) Neighbors and Township — Up-tempo indie rock with a strong backbeat. Subdued electric guitar. A bit of a middle of the road (MOR) sound.
9. (2:39) Pacific — Very similar to previous track. Indie rock with little to distinguish it.
10. (4:36) Runner — Title track is haunting and mesmerizing. Beautifully constructed with shimmering, swaying electric guitar and lovely floating vocals. ***