Issue October 28, 2008

Car Alarm

The Sea & Cake
(THRILL JOCKEY)

From the opening track, you can tell The Sea and Cake have been playing together a long time. Everything about their sound, from the airy guitar melodies to the gentle interplay between the bass and percussion, suggests a smoothness more reminiscent of a jazz ensemble than a rock band.

The title track is a good summary of the entire album; the guitars and drums are perfectly interconnected — no section vies for the spotlight here — and Sam Prekop’s vocals add another layer of polish to their rich sound. It’s certainly hard to fault a band that produces such finely crafted music. While there’s nothing technically wrong here, there’s also nothing exciting. The first half of the album, “Fuller Moon” especially, is pleasant, but also self-satisfied with its lack of exploration or experimentation. Car Alarm leaves you with the feeling that The Sea and Cake are content to continue to produce their variety of jazz-infused indie rock, but without the drive that made if fun six or seven years ago.