Runner is just icing on the Sea and Cake’s catalogue


In their nearly twenty-year career, Chicago-based genre-evading (post-indie-dream-jazz-rock-fusion?) quartet, the Sea and Cake have maintained incredible constancy, in sound and in quality, as well as incredible versatility. This reviewer has heard the Sea and Cake played with equal suitability at a Starbuck’s, at a vaguely trendy clothing store, on a cool friend’s mixtape and on a lame friend’s easy-listening Pandora station. Between its affiliations by varying degrees with post-rock patriarchs Tortoise, post-hardcore heroes Slint, post-country champion Bonnie “Prince” Billy” and a slew of other poster children of ‘post,’ the Sea and Cake has superseded nearly every genre but ‘good music’ (look for it in the bargain section of Tunes).

Album art courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan

With Runner, the Sea and Cake take a bit of a cakewalk around their post-Biz material, Prekop and Prewitt dipping fingers into samba-spiced coffee shop strummers and ethereal e-bow and synth-scapes.  When these two flavors show up in the same bite, the results fall mostly flat—especially “Harbor Bridges”—and when the band segregates its echoplex’d and nylon stringed sides, like on “The Invitations,” divided they fall down the rabbit-hole of the jejune. Runner’s saving grace, though, gallops right out the gate: “On and On” is the breeziest exhale the brothers cake have ever taken, while “Harps” is easily the group’s most viral melody since Prekop figured out that he could plug that tiny piano thing into a computer, and rightfully earns its prime spot next to the ‘C’ in canon (or the ‘C’ in classic, your ‘C’ in call).