(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)
Cake is a Sacramento band led by singer and guitarist John McCrea.
Motorcade Generosity (Stamen, 1994) displays a crooked sense of humour
in its revision of country, blues, tex-mex, funk, reggae and salsa stereotypes
that recalls Camper Van Beethoven.
That band's irony is the main weapon of the
trumpet-driven single Rock N' Roll Lifestyle (1994)
that revealed them.
Once realized the commercial potential of their stew, Cake veered towards a
more danceable sound (Todd Roper on drums and Victor Damiani on bass) and
Fashion Nugget (Capricorn, 1996)
promptly delivered the
surprise hit single The Distance (Capricorn, 1996), thanks to
funky horns and keyboards.
Prolonging the Magic (Capricorn, 1998) is still roots-rock, but with
a unique quirky twist.
The Cake dress up bitter and melancholy melodies with arrangements that
transform them into comic novelties.
A theremin, maracas and a mariachi trumpet supplement the Kinks-y power-pop
Piano and trumpet "jazz" up the noir theme of You Turn The Screws,
while the theremin adds a 1960s beach-party feeling.
The slightly dissonant folk-pop of Satan Is My Motor and
the waltzing country ballad Mexico sell out the idea.
The highlight is Never There, that features a syncopated funk rhythm,
an ironic Romeo Void posture, and a romantic trumpet solo.
They can be jovial storytellers in the witty hyper-realistic vein of Jonathan
Richman (Sheep Go To Heaven, Hem Of Your Garment).
But the album closes on a somber, moody tone with the blues dirge
Cool Blue Reason
and the majestic hymn Where Would I Be.
On Comfort Eagle (Columbia, 2001)
huge doses of wit and of melody (and ukulele) are supplemented with
tactful arrangements that dig tricks from funk and jazz-rock
(epitomized by Vince De Fiore's trumpet wails and
Gabriel Nelson's bass lines).
While Love You Madly, Meanwhile Rick James, Comfort Eagle
only rely on the catchiness of the refrains, smart songs like
Opera Singer and Long Line Of Cars are actually clever
postmodernist essays in disguise.
Another understated element of Cake's pop sound is nostalgy, that shows up
repeatedly and namely in the doo-wop of
Pretty Pink Ribbon and in the instrumental Arco Arena.
discretely acknowledges the age of electronic and digital productions
on Pressure Chief (Sony, 2004), a charming collection that manages
to sound cohesive even if it ranges from
quasi-emo (Wheels) to
power-pop (No Phone), from
country balladry (She'll Hang the Baskets) to