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The Sea and Cake deliver an album with the freshness and energy of a new band, and the ease and musicianship that can only come with experience. Runner began as the companion piece to 2011's The Moonlight Butterfly, and using that album's sonic experimentations as a starting point for a new process of writing and recording, became something completely new. Songs that began as synthesizer experiments in Sam Prekop's home studio were reimagined by the other members, and eventually recorded and mixed by John McEntire at Chicago's Soma Studios. The result is an album that feels like a private travelogue. Start listening at one place, and end up some place else. Cherishing the unexpected mysteries around every corner.
one of the dreamiest, most comforting, and most awe-inspiringly mellow things that the Chicago band have
ever done. --Pitchfork
This group has remained relevant, inventive and damn good since 1994... Good music transcends throughout
time, and The Sea and Cake is one of few that do it right. --Filter
Easily their best record in a decade --NPR All Songs Considered
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The first 4 tracks of this album are my favorite on the album. On and On is a rock song(well a light sea and cake rocker anyway) which gets you moving in the morning when you wake up. Harps has a variety of lovely sounds with instruments that I am not sure what they are and Prekop's vocals sound great in this and has an overall happy tone to the song-sort of a dreamy tune and quite relaxing(then again very few sea and cake's songs are not relaxing)! The last minute or so of the song " A mere" is absolutely lovely-with its lovely guitar rifts, light orchestra, light drum beats made for a splendid way to end the song. The 4th song Invitations has semi haunting vocals from Prekop with very interesting lyrics as well. Between his haunting vocals and Prewitt on organ it makes for a very unique song, one of my favorites on the album for sure. The other song harbor bridges is a light airy chill acoustic song and I really enjoyed the sound and rythm of new patterns which was a lovely tune also.
Other than that I did not personally care much for the rest of the songs. They were not terrible, just kind of so so at best-relaxing anyway.
Unfortunately there were no tracks on here that were just instrumentals. Almost all of the previous SAC albums have at least 1 if not 2 instrumentals(sans lyrics) which are often fantastic and sometimes the best tracks on the album.
Anyway a must pick to add to your SAC collection of great albums. Solid B+
But it loses by far compared wiht their previous album, The Moonlight Butterfly
Songs like "The Invitations" go a little off the expected menu, starting in familiar territory but soon morphing into something organic and filmic. The heavily processed vocals and keys drift away while a half krautrock/half Malian groove takes over. The acoustic "Harbor Bridges" is revelatory in its stripping away of the usual atmospherics and synths. Claridge keeps sneaking in variations on the venerable Thriller bassline throughout the album.
While their consistency can at times be maddening, the true strength of the band is not in "hey lookit me" stylistic twists or overt shifts. Instead, Sea And Cake reward listening with lots of subtlety and interesting yet understated layering. For example, the electronics go off into freeform noise territory during the song "New Patterns," but the rest of the band carries on a characteristic, swelling Sea And Cake groove.
If you're fanatic about this band, you have this already and I'm preaching to the choir. If you grab the occasional Sea And Cake album (maybe due to that very consistency issue), this would be a good one to add to your clutch as it stands out from the pack along with their best. I wouldn't warn any novices away from this one, either, as it gives you everything S&C has to offer in spades.